Bond reduced in impersonation case

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Routt County Judge James Garrecht on Wednesday reduced bond for a 48-year-old Steamboat Springs woman charged with criminal impersonation and forgery.

Sara Sue Foland, 48, appeared in Routt County Court, where her public defender, Sheryl Uhlmann, asked for her bond to be reduced. Garrecht lowered Foland's total bond amount for two criminal cases from $270,000 to $120,000. In the other case, she is charged with impersonating a physician's assistant and illegally dispensing prescription drugs.

Garrecht said he decided to reduce the bond because, in past court cases, Foland had appeared in court, and she had turned herself into the authorities. Even with the reduction, Garrecht said Foland's bond was five times more than the typical amount for the charge. He also said that if Foland was able to bond out of jail, it could relieve the county of some medical liabilities for Foland's care.

"Up until this stuff, she has had a clean criminal record. Everything considered, this is probably more appropriate in light of the circumstances," Garrecht said.

Foland was arrested in Missoula, Mont., and booked into the Routt County Jail on Sept. 23 on charges that she impersonated an acquaintance, withdrew more than $30,000 from the woman's Steamboat Springs bank account and charged more than $14,000 on credit cards illegally obtained in the woman's name.

On Sept. 30, Garrecht reduced Foland's bond from $500,000 to $250,000, saying the equity she had in a 3,900-square-foot home she owned in the Game Trails subdivision could allow for a property bond. In court on Wednesday, Uhlmann said the house was being foreclosed, and Foland could not make bond.

Foland also is being held on a $20,000 bond for previous charges that she forged documents to get a job as a physician's assistant in a local doctor's office. In that job, without legitimate state credentials, she is accused of assisting in surgeries and office procedures and writing numerous prescriptions for medications, including controlled substances such as Percocet, OxyContin and Valium.

Uhlmann said the chief public defender in Missoula and a personal friend of Foland said that Foland had a medical condition that was being treated by a physician in Montana. Foland said she suffered from a heart arrhythmia, had fainted while in the Routt County Jail and wanted to return to Montana for treatment.

Foland had turned herself into Missoula authorities, Uhlmann said, when she learned there was a warrant for her arrest. Uhlmann asked that Foland's bond be reduced to $50,000.

Deputy District Attorney Marc Guerette said the District Attorney's Office still considers Foland to be a serious flight risk and questioned Foland's medical conditions.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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