A former contract court investigator pleaded no contest Tuesday to billing Merced Superior Court thousands of dollars for work she never performed.
Michelle Clare Pomicpic, 41, submitted false reports to the court indicating she had conducted interviews that never happened, District Attorney Thomas Cooke said.
“In fact, many of these people she claimed to have spoken with had already died when she claimed she’d spoken with them,” Cooke said Tuesday.
Pomicpic entered her plea Tuesday before visiting Judge Donald E. Shaver in Mariposa Superior Court. Pomicpic struck a deal with the Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office, pleading to three felony counts of “theft by false pretenses,” Cooke confirmed.
In exchange for her plea, Pomicpic faces up to one year in county jail, probation and must repay the roughly $18,000 she got from Merced Superior Court. Should Pomicpic violate her probation, she would face more than four years behind bars, prosecutors said.
“I think this outcome holds her accountable for her actions,” Cooke said. “She has no prior criminal history and now has three felony convictions. We feel this is a just result.”
Efforts to reach her attorney, Michael Fagalde, were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Pomicpic is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 23 in Mariposa Superior Court.
The case was handled in Mariposa County because of Pomicpic’s connections to both the court and the District Attorney’s Office in Merced County, authorities confirmed.
Investigators said the false billings happened between March 2010 and January 2011.
Pomicpic was hired by the Merced Superior Court as a contract court investigator from May 2000 until August 2007. She was a full-time employee with benefits from August 2007 until February 2010, officials said previously.
The defendant also worked as a contract employee in February 2010 until December 2010. The court refused to renew Pomicpic’s contract in January 2011 after the discrepancies were found, according to a Merced County Sheriff’s Department report.
Pomicpic remains free pending sentencing.