The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 1, 2013

Clinton woman avoids prison in forgery

By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — A Clinton woman charged with forgery received a suspended prison sentence with the agreement that she would pay back her victim by the end of this year.

Melissa L. Mussmann, 43, 428 11th Ave. North, and her attorney, Matt Hatch, told Judge Paul Macek on Thursday that she had paid $150 in restitution since he had last seen her. Macek continued her sentencing on March 7 after learning that she had made no payment on the $492.73 she owed to victim, Darlene Hattan.

At the time, he told Mussmann she had better begin paying back Hattan if she did not want a prison sentence.

According to a court affidavit, Hattan reported the theft of her purse on June 20 along with her checkbook and driver’s license. Mussmann and three others allegedly cashed these checks at area businesses between June 20 and July 10, according to court documents. Hattan told the court on March 7 that the incident almost ruined her marriage.

“So it wasn’t just a matter of a mere $492,” Macek said.

After hearing that Mussman has made some payments to Hattan, Macek followed County Attorney Mike Wolf’s recommendation for a suspended sentence. Wolf told the court that Hattan does not wish to see Mussmann go to prison. Mussmann was ordered to spend as many as five years in prison and was fined $750, but both the incarceration and the fine were suspended.

Macek warned Mussman that if the full restitution to Hattan was not paid by 4 p.m. Dec. 31, her probation would be revoked. She also was ordered to complete community service in payment of court-appointed attorney fees.