A Scotts Bluff County District Court judge recently sentenced a man convicted of stealing funds from an online campaign touted to benefit the children of a woman killed in a 2019 crash.
Febronio Plasencio Jr., of Scottsbluff, 37, had initially been charged with theft by deception, a Class IIA felony, after he stole from a GoFundMe fundraiser for the three young children of Holly Heath, who died Dec. 5, 2019, after being injured in a Nov. 20, 2019, crash. In January, Plasencio agreed to a plea agreement, pleading to a charge of theft by taking, a Class I misdemeanor.
The plea agreement required Plasencio to pay more than $5,400 in restitution and to write an apology letter to the Heath family. The plea agreement also included an arrangement for the Scotts Bluff County Attorney’s Office to recommend probation in the case at a sentencing hearing.
Scotts Bluff County Judge Andrea Miller sentenced Plasencio on Feb. 12 to 365 days imprisonment on the charge, with Plasencio given credit for one day served.
An investigation in the case began after Gering Police were contacted regarding concerns about the fundraiser. The person contacting police said he was concerned funds would not be given to the Heath children, who have been cared for by Holly Heath's parents after her passing
During the investigation, police learned that Plasencio had withdrawn from the GoFundMe account regularly during November 2019, December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020. The funds were being transferred to an account that Plasencio had set up and were not given to the Heath family.
The investigator determined that a large amount of transactions had been made to Google Peak, but there were also several ATM withdrawals totaling $2,702.92 and transactions at restaurants, bars and shopping for $842.63. The GoFundMe account had been depleted and Plasencio had also set up other fundraisers in the woman’s name.
Plasencio is allowed good time, which means that he’ll serve about half of the sentence before being eligible for mandatory release as long as he doesn’t lose any allowed time.