Defendant reads statement in futile attempt to avoid jail time

December 29, 2014


By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — A 55-year-old Pentwater man with a lengthy criminal history read a prepared statement in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Dec. 29, in a futile attempt to avoid further jail time.

Despite his articulate reading, Roger Craig Beilfuss, of 215 S. Hancock, was ordered to one year in jail. He was given credit for 76 days he has already served.

“I pledge never again to make these mistakes,” Beilfuss said. “I’m tired of being a loser, and I want to be a winner.”

“You just can’t keep your hands off other people’s money,” said Judge Terrence R. Thomas, citing his lengthy criminal history which includes six felonies and one misdemeanor. One of his prior felonies involves stealing over $32,000 from the City of Hart back in 2009 when he was the contracted John Gurney Park manager.

For his most recent conviction, Beilfuss pleaded guilty Dec. 1 to a five-year felony of false pretenses – $1,000-$20,000. The conviction stems from his failure to pay a Kentucky man for tickets to the University of Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game last September.

In exchange for his plea, one count of fourth-offense habitual offender, was dismissed. Thomas also ordered that Beilfuss pay restitution totalling $2,400 and $198 in fines and costs. He was given two years probation, but Thomas said that if he pays all of his fines, costs and restitution, his probation will be reduced to one year.

Beilfuss said he has no one or nothing to blame but himself for his “gross indecisions” as he read his prepared statement that he said his attorney Timothy Hayes advised him not to read. The criminal said he had a “storybook life with no storybook ending” — he was raised in a good home. “My parents did everything right,” he said. He has been actively involved in religion and stated that he was “overmatched by the devil.”

Beilfuss said he has been so distraught over his legal troubles that he at one time “contemplated” taking his own life, but he now no longer has those thoughts.

According to the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS), Beilfuss was released from a Michigan Department of Corrections prison less than a year ago. He was sentenced to two to 20 years in prison in Oceana County for larceny by conversion – $20,000 or more for the crime against the City of Hart.

Beilfuss was also sentenced to prison in Newaygo County for two convictions of false pretenses – $1,000-$20,000 and was sentenced to one year and five months to five years in prison for each count, according to OTIS.

Beilfuss had also served probation sentences for two previous convictions of larceny by conversion – $1,000-$20,000 in Osceola County, where he was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison. His probation sentences include three additional convictions of false pretenses – $1,000-$20,000 in Muskegon and Newaygo counties. According to OTIS, he was sentenced on those convictions in 2006 and discharged in 2010.


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