A former Blaine County woman has been charged with 14 felonies for allegedly stealing checks from a friend and spending more than $1,900 of her friend’s money on a three-day check-writing spree.
Forty-two-year-old Sarajane Baxter Anderson, who now lives in Challis, was arraigned on one count of grand theft and 13 counts of forgery on Monday in Blaine County Fifth District Court. Judge Robert J. Elgee advised Anderson that both crimes are punishable in Idaho by up to 14 years in prison. Grand theft carries a maximum fine of $5,000 while forgery carries a maximum fine of $50,000.
Anderson pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges. Elgee scheduled a jury trial, expected to last four days, for Oct. 28.
Anderson is currently free on $10,000 bond. She is represented by Hailey attorney Cheri Hicks, who was appointed as public defender.
A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case by Ketchum police Detective Kristen Quinton alleges that Anderson stole the checks and forged her friend’s name on 13 of them, written to businesses throughout the Wood River Valley, from April 6-8. Most of the checks were written to local grocery stores for amounts ranging from about $100 to about $200. A few others were written to lumber product businesses in amounts ranging from about $160 to $302.
The affidavit states that the alleged victim and Anderson previously worked together at a local convenience store. When the friend moved in August of 2013 to Washington state, she had made arrangements for Anderson to forward her mail to her.
Instead, Quinton alleges, Anderson kept 25 blank checks on her friend’s account from Washington Federal Bank and, without authorization, forged her friend’s signature on a least 13 of them. Quinton’s report states that at least one other check was used in Challis.