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By Carmen Ensinger
A Carrollton woman facing jail time for wire fraud and filing a false police report has pled guilty to the lesser charge of filing a false police report and received a sentence of 120 days in county jail followed by 30 months probation.
Sarah Baumgartner, 41, was charged on July 16 with Filing a False Police Report. Baumgartner told Carrollton Police that Jason E. Wyatt, 48, whom Baumgartner had had a previous relationship with, had threatened her via a text message on April 15 and threatened her in person on April 18 and 19 with bodily harm and sexual assault, and on April 19 detained her in a vehicle and would not allow her to leave.
Baumgartner asked for an Order of Protection against Wyatt, which was granted. A warrant for Wyatt’s arrest was also issued at this time for these alleged incidents on April 23. Wyatt turned himself into police on June 3 after the Greene County Sheriff’s Department issued a bulletin for his arrest believing him to be a threat to the public.
After a lengthy investigation, it was concluded that Baumgartner falsely accused Wyatt of these incidents when she filed the police reports with the Carrollton Police Department.
Wyatt had been charged with aggravated stalking, unlawful restraint and multiple violations of an order of protections and spent more than a month in Greene County Jail before the charges were dropped.
On July 14, Baumgartner was charged with one count of Wire Fraud in that she sent text messages to her landlord, Shelli Martin, pretending to be Wyatt so Martin would feel sorry for her and provide financial assistance to her via rental assistance.
Baumgartner sent numerous messages to Martin, pretending to be Wyatt, which ultimately made Martin fear for her own safety.
Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe admits that, given that there are two obvious victims left in the wake of Baumgartner’s crimes, that her sentence is less than adequate.
“The fact that filing a false police report is only a Class 4 Felony – I think in this case that is an injustice to the system, especially whenever some of the allegations that she made against Mr. Wyatt were very serious where if he were convicted he could have gone to jail for a significant period of time,” Briscoe said. “With all of the justice reform they are doing, to me, it feels like if you accuse someone of a crime, and you like about it, the penalty for lying should be what it would have been for that offense.”
In other words, if you accuse someone of what would have been a Class 2 felony, your sentence should be a Class 2 felony, not just the blanket Class 4 felony for the filing of a false report.
In Illinois, a Class 4 felony is the lowest level felony offense punishable by one to four years in the Department of Corrections or up to 30 months probation.
Greene County Judge Zachary Schmidt gave Baumgartner 120 days in Greene County Jail, followed by 30 months probation and called it a “gift”. She will receive credit for 48 days served. She also must pay court costs of $1,249.