By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – An El Reno man has been convicted of defrauding a Yukon senior citizen of more than $2,500.
Christopher Michael Edwards, 42, pleaded no contest Jan. 9 to felony charges of exploitation of an elderly person by deception and uttering a forged instrument.
The former Yukon resident was formally charged last October in Canadian County District Court after a Yukon police investigation.
Edwards “knowingly through deception” obtained funds belonging to the elderly Yukon victim “with the intent to permanently deprive (the woman) of the possession of those funds while the defendant stood in a position of trust with the elderly person,” court documents show.
The defendant entered his no contest plea before Canadian County Special Judge Charles Gass. His attorney is public defender Jason Spanich.
Edwards received a five-year suspended sentence except for 30 days in the Canadian County Jail. He was given credit for time served and has been released from custody.
The Enid native also was ordered to participate in a community sentencing program for two years and to pay restitution and court costs.
The case stems from crimes reported July 2-8, 2022 in Yukon.
Edwards and the victim are related, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Edwards violated state law by “uttering or publishing as true checks purporting to be issued by Diamond Oilfield Services with the intent to cheat and defraud” when he knew the checks were forged, according to the charging document.
He worked for the company several years ago.
Edwards’ suspended sentence will run concurrent with three other cases in which he also pleaded no contest – two felony charges of larceny of a motor vehicle and one misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.
He had faced more than 25 years in prison on all five criminal charges.
CHECKS ‘NO GOOD’
Yukon Police Sgt. Joey Rushing on July 14 responded to the fraud call.
The victim told the officer that Edwards “tricked her into cashing two checks for him,” according to the court affidavit signed by Det. Dave Carroll.
Checks of $1,268.58 each were deposited into the woman’s bank account on July 2 and July 8.
Both times, she provided Edwards with cash “up front” while the checks were being deposited.
The elderly woman thought the checks were valid because they were from Diamond Oilfield Services and she thought Edwards still worked for the company (he had, but not since 2019).
She agreed to cash the checks because he didn’t have a bank account.
Det. Carroll contacted the manager of Diamond Oilfield Services, who told him the account number listed on the checks were “no good” and the defendant was not permitted or authorized to make or cash them.