CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Meenan has been charged with 10 felonies and a misdemeanor for allegedly misusing a $55,000 insurance settlement for his stepdaughter and misusing a credit card in his stepson's name, according to court documents.
A charging document signed Friday by Casper attorney Frank Chapman claims the crimes had to do with Meenan's stepdaughter Micah Kahler and stepson Ryan Kahler. Attorney General Pat Crank, a friend of Meenan's, named Chapman a special assistant attorney general April 25 to oversee the case, according to another Natrona County Circuit Court document.
Meenan, of Casper, is charged with five counts of forgery and one count each of larceny by bailee, unauthorized use of personal identifying information, writing a false statement to get credit, obtaining property by false pretenses and unlawful use of a credit card. All are felonies.
Facing jail time Each of the felonies except one is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Writing a false statement to obtain credit is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Meenan is also charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $5,000. He was released on his own recognizance and has been ordered not to leave the Wyoming-Montana area.
Meenan is being represented by Greg Goddard, an attorney from Buffalo who has scheduled a press conference in Casper at 11 a.m. today.
"Kevin's presumed innocent just like everyone else and when all the facts come out I think his position will be supported," Goddard said.
Goddard, who began representing Meenan about a month ago, said all of Meenan's children were surprised that charges were filed. He said some of Meenan's children will attend the press conference on the third floor of the Natrona County Courthouse, where Meenan's office is located.
Family matters "These allegations against Kevin are regarding family financial matters only," Goddard said a media release late Tuesday. "There are no allegations regarding Kevin's position as district attorney. Kevin and his family cooperated fully in this investigation."
According to an affidavit signed by Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Forrest Williams, Meenan represented Micah Kahler after a 1995 car accident in which she severely injured her head and shoulder. She was 16 at the time.
Micah Kahler allegedly told investigators on May 1 that Meenan told her in 1999 that she was to get a $20,000 settlement payment. He allegedly told her he would invest the money for her.
When Micah Kahler asked Meenan for the settlement money last July, he allegedly told her it was tied up in investments and he was unable to get it right away. Micah Kahler claims she contacted the investment company and, using Meenan's Social Security number, found out there was only $700 in the account and the account was only in Meenan's name.
In late February, the affidavit said, Micah Kahler; her biological father, Craig Kahler; Meenan's wife, Deanne Meenan; and Kevin Meenan met in Meenan's office.
Meenan allegedly at first claimed the settlement was $20,000 but he refused to provide documents. After asking Craig Kahler to leave the room, Meenan then allegedly said the settlement was actually $40,000 and that all the money had been spent.
After negotiations, an agreement was reached that, because Micah Kahler figured she spent about $7,000 on an educational trip to Spain in 2000, Meenan would pay her $33,000, according to the affidavit.
Of that amount, $32,000 from Deanne Meenan's retirement account was later placed in an Almost CD account in Micah Kahler's name.
Micah Kahler claims she never signed any documents or checks from the insurance company nor granted power of attorney to anyone to do so.
When Williams served a search warrant at the State Farm insurance claims office in Gillette on May 6, he allegedly was provided with documents that included front and back copies of a check for $55,000, payable to Micah Kahler and Kevin Meenan.
"The back of the check appeared to have two (2) signatures on it and was deposited into Kevin P. Meenan's trust account at First Interstate Bank of Casper," the affidavit said.
The other charges involve a Chase Manhattan credit card. Ryan Kahler claims the bank left him a message in December and, when he called back, was told he had a credit card with the bank and the account had a past-due notice on it. Kahler claims he did not know he had a Chase credit card.
After requesting copies of the credit card application and credit card statements, he allegedly discovered that the credit card application was dated July 18, 2001, and had his alleged signature. Later in 2001, two debit checks for $900 and $400 were allegedly made payable to Kevin Meenan and had Ryan Kahler's alleged signature.
Ryan Kahler also allegedly saw several checks payable to Chase which were all from Kevin Meenan's checking account, according to the affidavit.
Ryan Kahler allegedly told Williams he believed Meenan filled out the application and used the credit card debit checks to obtain $1,300 without his "permission, consent, authority or knowledge."
Interviewed by investigators in February, Meenan allegedly admitted using the card without his stepson's knowledge, saying that in one case he thought some of the money went to Ryan Kahler to help him because he was having car problems.
He said that over the years he obtained credit cards for all his children to help them build financial credit and he turns the cards over to them if they show they are responsible enough to use a credit card, according to the affidavit.
Investigators said Meenan told them Ryan Kahler encountered credit problems with his cellular telephone and so he never gave him the card.
Goddard said he was returning a message seeking comment that was left at Meenan's home Tuesday. There was no answer at Meenan's office. There is no listing in Wyoming for Ryan Kahler or Micah Kahler.
Meenan has been elected to five terms as district attorney for the 7th Judicial District. He is a past president of the National District Attorneys Association, which has a membership of about 7,000, and has been a board member of the group since 1992.
Meenan is also a past president of the Wyoming Prosecutors Association. He has been involved in the Natrona County Republican Party as both a precinct committeeman and a member of the party's executive committee.
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