14th Judicial District investigation yields theft, forgery charges
On March 9 Craig residents Mario Delgado, 34, and Natasha Plantiko, 29, were arrested on suspicion of felony theft and forgery following nearly a year-long probe by 14th Judicial District investigator Doug Winters.
Delgado and Plantiko allegedly defrauded the Moffat County Department of Social Services by failing to accurately disclose their income when they applied for and received food assistance and Medicaid benefits.
They have each been charged with one count of theft of $1,000 to $20,000, a Class 4 felony, and one count of forgery, a Class 5 felony.
The presumptive penalty for a Class 4 felony in Colorado is two to six years in the Department of Corrections and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
The presumptive penalty for a Class 5 felony is one to three years in DOC and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
Delgado and Plantiko are scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. March 26 before Judge Sandra Gardner in Moffat County Court for a status conference.
The defendants are both being represented by attorney Larry Combs of Steamboat Springs.
Moffat County district attorney Hon Ng is prosecuting Delgado and Plantiko.
Winters said he is in the midst of investigating a number of similar cases.
“We want to get the word out so people understand that it is a crime to falsify information,” Winters said. “Our office will look into each and every complaint, and if there is a criminal element to it, they will be prosecuted.”
“We’ve enjoyed Craig a lot and we’re sad to leave the people that have extended a tremendous amount of kindness to me and my family. This is just a better opportunity.”
— Jon Pfeifer
The feeling was bittersweet Thursday for Jon Pfeifer, Moffat County deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, when discussing his departure for a position in Grand Junction.
“We’ve enjoyed Craig a lot and we’re sad to leave the people that have extended a tremendous amount of kindness to me and my family,” Pfeifer said. “This is just a better opportunity.”
Pfeifer submitted his resignation in early March after three and a half years with the Moffat County D.A.’s office. His final day as deputy district attorney is March 30.
Pfeifer will relocate to Grand Junction, where he has accepted a position as an associate with Rider & Quesenberry, LLP.
The law firm specializes in public finance transactions such as real estate, business acquisitions and estate planning, among others.
“This is what I really wanted to do coming out of law school,” Pfeifer said. “This is the type of law I can see myself doing for the rest of my career.”
Aside from the obvious perks of one day making partner and earning more money, Pfeifer said his decision was motivated primarily by family considerations.
Pfeifer grew up in Billings, Mont., and is an avid skier, fisherman and Elk hunter. He wants his two children, Elijah 5, and Lincoln, 3, to grow up with the same recreational opportunities.
“It’s a good place to raise kids,” Pfeifer said. “It reminds me a lot of Billings. It’s close to Moab, Lake Powell and a lot of good fishing.”
Education also played a pivotal role in Pfeifer’s decision because Elijah has reached school age.
“Grand Junction is a school of choice community,” Pfeifer said. “This gives me and my wife (Emily) a little more control over our children’s education.”
In addition, the Pfeifers have family in Aspen and Provo, Utah. Living in Grand Junction puts the Pfeifers an equal distance from both sides of the family.
Pfeifer’s colleagues are sad to see him go.
“I am very disappointed,” 14th Judicial District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said. “Jon is a great attorney, everyone in the office likes him, everyone likes working with him, but I know this is what’s best for his family and it is also a great opportunity.”
As deputy district attorney, Pfeifer was responsible for prosecuting felony cases in Moffat County District Court. Han Ng and Matt Tjosvold will share felony cases in the immediate future, Oldham said.
“Han actually has about twice as much experience prosecuting as I do and Matt has more experience than me when I started doing felonies,” Pfeifer said. “They both have different attributes that make them good prosecutors, so I think they’ll do a good job and the office will be fine in handling the cases Moffat County has.”
Oldham said she has received a number of resumes and will be conducting interviews Wednesday in search of an entry-level prosecutor to handle cases in Moffat County Court.
Pfeifer is the second high-level attorney in Moffat County to announce his departure in recent weeks.
Moffat County Attorney Jeremy Snow, who also spent time working as a deputy district attorney, submitted his resignation March 6 citing “personal family reasons.”
Snow’s last day will be sometime in mid-May. He will then relocate to the Salt Lake City area.
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.