Marshall County Man is Sentenced For Credit Card Fraud

A Marshall County man was sentenced to more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to using a credit card found in a parking lot.

Earlier this week, James Bennett appeared before Marshall County Circuit Judge David Hummel after having pleaded guilty last month to spending more than $500 on charges of unauthorized use of an access device.

After receiving the card, Bennett was said to have used it to purchase an Xbox, a game, a magazine, an online subscription and a TV.

Bennett said he had made several bad choices in his life, which he attributed to drugs. He told Hummel he had made a concerted effort to get clean.

“I got all of that stuff to trade to my drug dealer for drugs,” he said. “When this all happened, I was really badly addicted to drugs — any kind of opiates I could get my hands on. I was using people for money. … I was doing everything I could for money. Two, three weeks after the credit card incident, I woke up one morning, looked at my arm, saw the track marks, and knew I had to do something.”

After completing a rehabilitation program, Bennett said he had avoided drugs except for his medication. His attorney, Jeremiah Gardner, told Hummel Bennett wished to become a productive member of society, and has since been gainfully employed.

“He’s taking every step he can to battle his addiction, and he’s asking for the opportunity to be placed on probation, so he can continue to work, pay off his restitution, and never return to court again.”

Prosecutor Rhonda Wade, however, pointed out that charges against Bennett were filed over a year ago, in January 2017.

“He didn’t have a job for the whole year, before trying to clean up his act. The victim does have a full-time job, and that’s why she is not here today,” Wade said. “If you look at the crimes he has committed, they are all crimes against these kinds of victims. We wouldn’t consider them serious, but they are the kind to cause victims … stress, and feeling of violation.”

Wade also pointed out that the state had already shown leniency toward Bennett by dismissing three other counts of the same charge in the indictment, reducing his potential sentence from a maximum of 40 years to a maximum of 10.

Hummel sentenced Bennett to 30 months in prison

Prior to sentencing, Hummel questioned Bennett on child support he was paying — $88 per month to a child in New York — and on his choice of purchases. He added afterwards that these factors did not affect the sentencing.

“You’re raising that child, aren’t you?” Hummel said. “Not only do you smoke $80 a month in cigarettes, you were doing drugs.”