A 41-year-old man will do jail time for scamming Ice Harbor Brewing Co. out of $1,276 by posing as an ad salesman.
Michael Anthony Craig of Kennewick told the business' general manager that he worked for MAC Distributing and had available advertising space that would get the restaurant's menu in a pamphlet to be distributed at Tri-City hotels.
Craig first spoke to Jackson Davis with Ice Harbor on July 20 and received a check for $648, according to documents in Benton County Superior Court.
He wrote up a generic receipt for Davis and left.
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The next day, Craig returned to the business claiming he had lost the check and needed another one to complete the ad transaction, documents said. Davis gave him a check for $628, which included a $20 reduction for a canceled check fee.
The general manager then called the bank and ordered that payment be stopped on the first check. However, Craig reportedly went to a Moneytree branch that same day and cashed both checks.
Moneytree then called Davis on Aug. 2 and told him that since the first check had been cashed, he was liable for the $648, court documents said. That is when the manager realized he had been scammed by Craig, who was using a fictitious company to sell a nonexistent advertisement package, documents said.
Kennewick police talked to employees at Moneytree and learned that Craig is a regular customer there. He provided his driver's license and Social Security number as identification when he cashed the two checks.
Davis also picked Craig in a photo lineup as the suspect.
Craig entered an Alford plea to second-degree theft, which means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
"I took money for future advertising, which was not provided. I intended to provide it at the time of receiving the payment, but due to economic problems, was not able to provide the services," Craig wrote in his plea statement. "However, I believe a jury could find that I did not intend to provide the services when I accepted payment, and therefore wish to plead guilty to accept responsibility and the prosecutor's plea offer."
He was sentenced to 15 days in jail, and was told the time can be done on either jail work crew or work release if he is eligible. It will be served at the same time as his 30-day term for possession of methamphetamine.
In that case, Craig was contacted outside a Kennewick home Dec. 6 when Benton County sheriff's deputies were looking to arrest him on outstanding warrants.
After taking Craig into custody, one deputy was searching him when another noticed Craig move his hands around and drop something on the ground, court documents said. The deputy picked up a small bag of a white crystal substance, which tested positive for meth, documents said.
Craig, in his guilty plea, admitted that he had less than a half-gram of meth for personal use.