Tahlequah Daily Press

July 31, 2013

Bogus check, restitution program back in Tahlequah

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

STILWELL — As fewer people turn to their checkbooks to make their next purchase, district attorneys across the country are seeing a decline in revenue from bogus-check programs.

That decrease has led District Attorney Brian Kuester to make changes in the local bogus-check and restitution program, including a physical move of the office from Wagoner to Tahlequah.

“Over the years, statewide – and probably nationwide – the district attorneys’ systems that have bogus-check programs have had revenue decline sharply. As a result, the number of people working the bogus-check divisions has had to decline as well. We're now down to three people working the bogus-check and restitution division; three or four years ago, we had seven or eight.”

The District 27 program has been housed in a rented facility in Wagoner in recent years, a move made before Kuester took office. With the decline in revenue, Kuester decided to save some funds by moving the program to Cherokee County.

“We didn't need the large office space we had here in Wagoner, which of course was a cost to the office. It was not the wisest use of tax dollars to rent a facility that was larger than we needed,” said Kuester. “So the move back to Cherokee County was really kind of a dollars-and-sense decision.”

While employees of the program have more records to move, the phones, computers and personnel from the program are all now situated on the second floor of the Cherokee County Courthouse for day-to-day business.

Lanette Garner is coordinator of the bogus-check program and can be reached at (918) 456-6649, the main phone line for the office. Cheryl Webb also works in the bogus-check division, and can be contacted at (918) 456-8307.

Rhonda Thornburg, in restitution, can be reached at (918) 458-6505.

The office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The program’s new address is 213 W. Delaware, Room 206A, Tahlequah, Okla., 74464.