A Hobbs man will serve probation for stealing from two local businesses.
Keith Wayne Sanders, 27, of Hobbs pleaded guilty to fraud, a fourth-degree felony, on Dec. 8, for taking $3,600 from local businesses Lobo Nut and Bolt and Cavitt Land and Cattle, belonging to Wade Cavitt. He was sentenced to 18 months supervised probation and ordered to pay $1,150 restitution.
Sanders is currently being held in the Lea County Detention Center (LCDC) on a July probation violation charge.
In November, Sanders asked to be sent to a long-term drug rehab facility in Farmington and was accepted. He will be held in LCDC until Jan. 25, 2023, when he will be transported to the rehab.
Though Sanders was sentenced to probation, Cavitt says he is not pleased and was pushing for jail time.
“Here’s the problem,” Cavitt said. “When he gets out, he’s going to go right back to doing drugs. My problem is he violates his probation and nothing seems to happen. He’s already violated two probations and he’s gotten a slap on the wrist.
“The Assistant District Attorney (ADA) told Tammy (Cavitt) if you come to court to fight, we’re going to drop the charges. If we lose the plea deal, I’m (the ADA) going to drop the charges because we can’t convict. She did tell Tammy, ‘if you pursue, to try to take this to trial, we’re going to drop the case.’”
Cavitt said according to the ADA, Chiduziem Chinedu Ezeh, who oversaw Sanders’ fraud case, the reason she could not take the case to trial is because both officers who were investigating have left HPD.
“There’s two witnesses (who can’t be compelled to show) and another thing, we’re (the Cavitts) not in a standing to pursue it because we’ve been made whole by the bank. At this point, we’re not out any money, except time and the stopped payments on checks, and the $1,200 a year we’re having to pay to keep this from happening again with the positive pay. …the bank talked us into keeping our same bank account, and even though we have the positive pay, he still has our bank account number so if he gets out and tries to cash a check again, or one of his associates, at least we won’t be out the money, it will be on whoever cashed the check for him,” Cavitt said. “Also, the $1,200 restitution is really $3,000 to $4,000 we lost. He’s not even making full restitution.”
In April, Cavitt reported several fraudulent checks cashed under both of his businesses names. Those checks amounted to about $3,600. Cavitt said he didn’t know who cashed them.
Sanders was arrested July 12 and charged with fraud over $500, under $2,500 and probation violation, both fourth-degree felonies.
According to a HPD report, on April 26, officers responded to Lobo Nut and Bolt located on the 700 block of West Marland St. in reference to a report of fraud. Cavitt told officers someone wrote two unauthorized checks from the Lobo Nut and Bolt account and provided officers with copies of the checks.
The first check was dated March 18 in the amount of $1,200 and paid out to Sanders. It was cashed at Albertsons on March 21. A second check, dated April 8, was paid out to an unidentified female for the amount of $950.
Video from the Albertsons on the date in question showed Sanders handing a check to an associate. Sanders showed his ID, which was copied onto the check along with his date of birth and driver’s license number.
On June 29, officers contacted Cavitt and presented two photos of Sanders and the unidentified female. Cavitt told officers he had no idea who either individual was.
Sanders has a criminal history dating back to 2013.
He’s has been charged with trafficking, a second-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance, a fourth-degree felony; aggravated burglary, a second-degree felony; unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; abandonment of a child, a misdemeanor.
The unidentified female was not charged.
“The good side of me says I hope he goes into rehab and comes out beating addiction, but my instincts tells me he’s not going to. …There’s no deterrent for someone breaking the law and they end up reoffending so that way they have a warm bed and a meal. …I am disappointed that the system seems like it’s failing,” Cavitt said.
In addition to owning Lobo Nut and Bolt and Cavitt Land and Cattle, Cavitt is also part of the group that owns the Hobbs News-Sun.
Gabrielle Arsiaga’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more local news go to www.hobbsnews.com