Casper man’s sentence for 2018 fraud delayed

Courtesy photo

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A Casper man reached a plea agreement recently on a felony fraud charge for taking $4,000 from a Big Piney couple in 2018 for a promised roof replacement.

Travis J. Dees, a roofing contractor, was charged last fall with obtaining property by false pretenses with intent to defraud. His case bound over to 9th District Court on Oct. 5, 2022, records show.

Dees’ sentencing before District Court Judge Kate McKay was set for Thursday, May 25, but his public defender Rachel Weksler noted that the defendant could not complete his pre-sentence investigation before June 1.

On May 7, 2018, Dees and his former wife made a verbal agreement with Gary and Kay Eiden and took a $4,000 check written to Sweetwater Roofing as half payment, court records show. Detective Sgt. Lance Gehlhausen’s attached affidavit related how the Dees returned to the Eidens’ home and asked for another check made out to Travis Dees, as Bank of the West would not cash it.

Deputies checked with the Eidens (before and after Kay’s death) to see if the Dees ever returned the $4,000 or began any work on the roof, neither of which happened, according to the affidavit.

At his Nov. 17, 2022, arraignment in District Court, Dees pleaded not guilty and a jury trial was set for March 13.

However, a plea agreement was filed on Feb. 8, stating Dees would plead no contest to the charge. Dees’ vehicle broke down driving to the March 9 hearing in Pinedale; he was allowed to plead no contest via video.

For the May 25 sentencing hearing, deputy county attorney Adrian Kowalksi and Weksler planned to jointly recommend a 3- to 5-year prison sentence, suspended for three years of successful supervised probation, records show. Restitution to Eiden was a mandatory condition of the plea agreement.

Weksler requested Judge McKay reschedule Dees’ sentencing to the week of June 26 or later.