A restitution hearing was held this afternoon in the case of a southwest Iowa woman who falsely claimed her 5-year-old daughter had cancer and then raised money for her treatment.
Fourth District Court Judge Greg Steensland presided over the hearing for 30-year-old Leatha Slauson of Atlantic. Slauson was unable to make it to attend due to the weather, but she was represented by her lawyer, Jay Mez.
Six people testified at the hearing and provided evidence to the judge of how much they had contributed to Slauson, or the “Super Riley Fund” set up for her daughter. Most presented photocopies of checks, but one woman presented credit card statements. The amounts claimed ranged from $200 to over $3,000. Judge Steensland, Mez and Cass County Attorney David Wiederstein agreed to accept the claims. Now it’s up to the judge to determine how much each person or organization will receive.
Wiederstein noted the total victim restitution amounts to $35,964 and $3,000 has been returned in the form of an RV that was used, leaving a balance of $32,964. But, the amount of funds available to distribute equals just $15,920. Judge Wiederstein said since the amount of claims exceed the available funds, it puts him in a a predicament.
“We’ve already had a situation where we’re trying to figure out what to do with money that shouldn’t have been given out in the first place. As a judge, I cannot exacerbate that by giving out funds that I can’t track,” Wiederstein said. He said he would reimburse those funds that he thinks are provable, in the form of a court order.
Slauson was sentenced to 5 years probation in January and was ordered to continue mental health treatment and not have contact with her 5 children unless requested by her therapist. In November, she pled guilty to charges of child endangerment, administering harmful substances, theft and unlawful possession of a prescription drug.
(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)