Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Valley felon charged with new crime

Suspect accused of fraudulent use of debit card


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

James Logan Kassner

A 20-year-old Blaine County man, convicted earlier this year of the felony crime of fraudulent use of a financial transaction card, has been charged with a new felony for allegedly trying to use his debit card to steal money from the Campus Café at the Community Campus in Hailey in mid-April.

James Logan Kassner was arrested by Hailey police on April 16 and remained incarcerated Thursday in the Blaine County jail on $10,000 bond.

He was formally charged with a new count of fraudulent use of a financial transaction card at an initial court appearance on April 17 in Blaine County Magistrate Court. Hailey attorney Cheri Hicks was appointed public defender.

A probable-cause affidavit filed by Hailey police Lt. Steve England alleges that Kassner unsuccessfully attempted on Saturday, April 14, to use his debit card to transfer to his own bank account $365 from the financial transaction card machine at the Campus Café checkout stand. The café was closed at the time. England wrote in the affidavit that Kassner was familiar with operation of the machine, and how to get it to credit a refund, because of previous employment at another restaurant that used the same type of equipment.

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England wrote that Kassner was in the Community Campus building at the time working on props for an upcoming play at the new Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater.

England further alleged that Kassner needed the money to "pay for his mental health court fees."

Kassner was ordered to attend mental health court in Twin Falls County when sentenced in Blaine County 5th District Court in March on the earlier conviction of fraudulent use of a financial transaction card. In that case, Kassner was convicted of using fuel cards stolen last summer from Mountain Rides Transportation Authority buses to buy more than $600 in fuel and vehicle services.

Judge Robert J. Elgee further gave Kassner in that case a five-year suspended prison sentence, placed him on probation for four years and ordered him to pay restitution.

In an even earlier case, Kassner was convicted in 2011 of petit theft for illegally using his father's Visa card number to buy about $2,000 worth of computer equipment. Kassner was originally charged with a felony in that case but pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

In that case he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and placed on probation.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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