Local lawyer enters guilty plea for passing bad checks

Thursday, April 29, 2004

A week before he was scheduled for a jury trial for felony passing bad checks, Cape Girardeau lawyer and former Scott City municipal judge Michael Richey changed his plea to guilty to five charges of passing bad checks under a plea agreement.

Richey, 57, was to have had a jury trial May 4. On Tuesday, he appeared in Cape Girardeau County circuit court in front of Pemiscot County Judge Byron Luber of the 34th Judicial District and withdrew his not guilty plea.

The Missouri Attorney General's office filed felony charges against Richey Feb. 11, 2003, claiming Richey wrote checks totaling $112,428.92 to two of his clients knowing he did not have money in his account to cover them.

Scott Holste of the attorney general's office said that during Tuesday's pre-trial conference, the state recommended that Richey give up his law license and that he be given a four-year suspended sentence, be ordered to pay restitution and be placed on five years supervised probation.

A sentencing and restitution hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17 before Luber. At that time, Holste said, the judge will rule on the plea agreement and the amount of restitution.

Richey's attorney, Malcolm Montgomery of Cape Girardeau, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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