Howard City couple sentenced for fraud


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:04 pm on Friday, October 05, 2012

Marcia Warren

Nikolaus Warren

STANTON — A Howard City husband and wife were sentenced to six months in jail Thursday after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

Nikolaus Warren, 21, and Marcia Warren, 20, were originally charged with 10 felony counts each involving the theft and use of a financial transaction device.

The Warrens each pleaded guilty July 26 in 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Stanton to one count of financial transaction device — stealing/retaining without consent (a possible four-year felony) and one count of financial transaction device — illegal sale or use (a possible four-year felony).

On July 2, Howard City police officers began investigating the theft of a Social Security credit card and 10 subsequent fraudulent transactions — nine of which occurred at Howard City businesses. The card had been stolen from a parked vehicle at a Montcalm County park while the owner was swimming at the beach.

Police obtained several sore security videos of a man and a woman using the stolen credit card to purchase more than $500 worth of items.

On July 10, police posted photographs developed from the security videos on the police department’s newly activated community alert notification system “Nixle” at howardcity.org online.

By the morning of July 11, tips from citizens were coming into the police department. The Warrens were identified, located and arrested that same day with assistance from the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department in Stanton.

The Nixle Community Information Service allows police to create and publish messages to be delivered to subscribers instantly via a cell phone text message and/or email. Notifications can also be accessed at nixle.com and/or howardcity.org online.

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