SMITH CENTER – (May 6, 2020) – A judge has ordered a Smith Center woman convicted of insurance fraud to serve 45 days in jail after granting the state’s motion to correct an earlier illegal sentence of only probation, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
On February 5, following a bench trial in Smith County District Court, Trisha A. Wiehl, 40, was found guilty of 57 charges – one count of insurance fraud, four counts of theft, 35 counts of making false information, eight counts of insurance agent or broker failing to pay premium to company, six counts of forgery, and three counts of false impersonation. At sentencing, the state requested Wiehl be imprisoned. The court rejected the request and sentenced her to pay a $3,000 fine and serve 36 months’ probation.
On February 25, Schmidt filed a motion to correct illegal sentence, arguing that because Wiehl was convicted on six counts of forgery, a special provision in Kansas law requires her to serve a minimum of 45 days’ imprisonment before release on probation. Chief Judge Preston Pratt yesterday granted the attorney general’s motion and ordered Wiehl to serve 45 days in the Smith County jail. Based on his findings, Judge Pratt also increased Wiehl’s fine amount to $11,500 from $3,000. Wiehl’s 36-month probation term will continue after her release from jail.
Because of restrictions on court operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday’s hearing on the attorney general’s motion was publicly live-streamed over the internet with all parties appearing by way of an electronic group meeting software. All parties agreed to the proceeding being conducted in this manner.