A 43-year-old Steamboat Springs woman was given six years in a community corrections facility for felony forgery, but warned another offense could send her to jail for 12 years.
District Court Judge Michael O'Hara sentenced Cindy Lou Winograsky on Friday. In December, Winograsky pleaded guilty to a felony charge of forgery. Theft charges filed against her were dropped.
Winograsky also is on probation from a 1997 case in which she pleaded guilty to a theft charge and a forgery charge, was dismissed.
In June 2003, Winograsky was charged with forging eight checks worth $6,463 from her former employer, Professional Ski Instructors of America and Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Education Foundation, a nonprofit subsidiary.
Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, who represented Winograsky, urged O'Hara to sentence her client to the community corrections program instead of prison time. Winograsky is an employed, intelligent woman who has a drug problem that the community corrections program could address, Uhlmann said.
"She is not someone who ought to be sent to prison or who doesn't deserve a chance in community corrections," Uhlmann sad.
Winograsky said not a day goes by that she doesn't think about her crimes.
O'Hara said he was reluctant to grant Winograsky six years in community corrections. Winograsky could have been sentenced to two to six years in prison.
O'Hara asked Winograsky if she could comply with the terms of her probation until a bed opened up at the community correction program. An opening is expected by Feb. 10.
"If you violate the rules, you go to prison for 12 years. Is that enough incentive for you not to violate the (law) between now and Feb. 10?" O'Hara asked. "That is what you are flirting with. If you are worried about your ability to comply, I can put you in jail in the meantime."
Winograsky chose to stay at the Routt County Jail until she was taken into the community corrections program.
In an October arrest warrant, a Professional Ski Instructors of America employee said that between April 19, 2002, and June 10, 2002, Winograsky wrote eight checks payable to herself, endorsed them and took them to the bank.
On June 13, 2002, Winograsky confided in the employee she had stolen the checks from the employee's desk and used Executive Director David Hidalgo's signature stamp to complete the check before taking them to the bank.
Winograsky also took $320 in cash and replaced them with insufficient funds from checks from her personal account, the employee said.
Winograsky had made restitution payments between $6,299 and $6,349, the employee said. The arrest warrant states Winograsky disputes the amount.
In 1997, Winograsky was charged with theft and forgery for taking more than $1,500 from Arc Welding Specialists. She pleaded guilty to the theft charge, and the forgery charge was dismissed.