Change of plea hear­ing in fraud case con­tin­ued

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - BY JAMES GILBERT @YSJAMESGILBERT James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@ yu­masun.com or 539-6854.

A change of plea hear­ing in Yuma County Su­pe­rior Court for the Texas man ac­cused of mak­ing $1.3 mil­lion worth of fraud­u­lent re­turns at more than 1,000 U.S. Wal­marts — in­clud­ing two in Yuma — was con­tin­ued again on Tues­day at the re­quest of the de­fense.

Thomas Fru­daker has been charged with fraud­u­lent schemes and ar­ti­fices and theft, which are both felonies, and one mis­de­meanor count of theft. He re­mains in cus­tody at Yuma County jail on a $100,000 bond.

At­tor­ney Fausto Fal­zone of the Yuma County Pub­lic De­fender’s Of­fice, who was stand­ing in on be­half of Fru­daker’s as­signed at­tor­ney, re­quested a two-week con­tin­u­ance say­ing the de­fense had not re­ceived the plea of­fer yet.

He ex­plained to Su­pe­rior Court Judge Stephen Rouff, who is pre­sid­ing over the case, that the rea­son for the de­lay is that the plea of­fer is still pend­ing vic­tim no­ti­fi­ca­tion, adding that Fru­daker’s at­tor­ney would also need time to re­view it with his client once it is re­ceived.

Af­ter hear­ing from both coun­sel, Rouff con­tin­ued the hear­ing un­til 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 4, for ei­ther a trial set­ting or change of plea hear­ing, adding that the hear­ing has al­ready been post­poned three pre­vi­ous times and he would pre­fer not to post­pone again.

Ac­cord­ing to Yuma po­lice, on June 15 of­fi­cers re­sponded to a re­port of a fraud­u­lent trans­ac­tion at a Wal­mart at 2501 S. Av­enue B.

Upon in­ves­ti­ga­tion, they de­ter­mined that Fru­daker had al­legedly re­moved parts from a com­puter he had pre­vi­ously pur­chased from the Wal­mart and was at­tempt­ing to re­turn it.

Of­fi­cers also were able to de­ter­mine that Fru­daker made a sim­i­lar trans­ac­tion on Wed­nes­day at an­other Wal­mart lo­cated at 8151 E. 32nd St.

Fru­daker, who is sus­pected of mak­ing the fraud­u­lent re­turns over the past 18 months, was ar­rested and booked into Yuma County jail.

THOMAS FRU­DAKER

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