Felony charges still planned against woman charged with MHA theft

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 13:20

Prosecutors still plan felony charges against a woman accused of stealing nearly two hundred thousand dollars from a local hockey association, despite a recent dismissal of the most serious charges against her.

Anchorage District Attorney Rick Allen said felony theft charges against Jennifer Suchan, 33, were dismissed Dec. 4 due to Alaska criminal procedure “Rule 5,” which governs how quickly defendants must be brought to trial. Since Suchan hadn’t yet been indicted, Allen said he dropped the charges before seeking an indictment.

“That’s not an uncommon situation,” Allen said last week.

Allen said prosecutors have been working with investigators and Mustang Hockey Association to make a full accounting of the estimated $180,000 Suchan allegedly stole between August, 2015, and the summer of 2017, while she served as the association’s treasurer.

“We want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row,” Allen said.

He said “white collar” crimes such as the ones alleged against Suchan have large volumes of paperwork and are time-consuming to investigate. However, he said he still expects to bring felony charges against Suchan at some point in the near future.

“There’s no expectation that this is going to be a misdemeanor,” he said.

The allegations against Suchan arose after MHA president Joey Merrick went to police after he said he found irregularities in the association’s finances. Police investigated, and determined Suchan siphoned off money to pay her own bills while she served as volunteer treasurer. She was arrested on June 26 and pleaded not guilty in July to charges of theft and scheme to defraud.

Allen said he does not have a timeline for when he expects new charges to be filed in the case.

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