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Theft case involving check from divorce settlement moves to trial

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A Mandan man charged with theft after he cashed a check given to him as part of a divorce settlement will go to trial in May.

The case against Cody Guthmiller, 34, is “a real mess,” defense attorney Jackson Lofgren said at a Tuesday preliminary hearing. South Central District Judge Lindsey Nieuwsma agreed in part, but found there was enough evidence to move the case to trial.

Guthmiller received a cashier’s check for $84,500 from his former wife, Allison Guthmiller, after the two divorced last July. Assistant Morton County State’s Attorney Chase Lingle argued that Cody Guthmiller should have returned the money when police told him Allison Guthmiller had transferred money from her grandmother’s account to her own and then given him the check. By not returning it, he was depriving the grandmother of the money even after it “was made clear the money was stolen,” Lingle said.

The check was part of a court-ordered settlement, according to Lofgren. The state has no evidence that Cody Guthmiller cashed it illegally, that he knew stolen money was used for the check, or that he still has any of the money, the defense attorney said.

“We’ve got a real mess here,” Lofgren said.

Nieuwsma moved the case forward on what she called “a bare minimum” of evidence to support the allegation that Cody Guthmiller retained the money.

“The state has a difficult case to prove,” the judge said. She scheduled a two-day trial for Cody Guthmiller starting May 3.

Allison Guthmiller’s preliminary hearing is Jan. 18. She's charged with felony exploitation of an eligible adult.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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