The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
Defendant Megan Marie Champion, age 38, of Mendocino County, was convicted by plea Friday morning of Preparing False Evidence, a felony violation of Penal Code section 134.
It is felony in the State of California to prepare any false or ante-dated book, paper, record, instrument in writing, or other matter or thing, with intent to produce it, or allow it to be produced for any fraudulent or deceitful purpose, as genuine or true, upon any trial, proceeding, or inquiry that is authorized by law.
As background, defendant Champion was on misdemeanor probation for a marijuana case and, having violated her probation, was ordered to perform a significant number of community service hours. She procrastinated starting those hours, offering up various excuses when asked, and, as might be expected, supposedly fell behind in working the required hours before the completion deadline.
When the Court made inquiry as to the exact number of hours defendant Champion had worked to date and asked for a written summary, the defendant, through her attorney, subsequently submitted a summary of the dates, locations, hours, and work performed. This summary was signed by a Humboldt County livestock business owner.
When reviewed by the DA’s investigators, it was determined that the summary was fraudulent, in that defendant Champion showed long hours she had purportedly worked in California when rodeo competition records showed she was instead out-of-state competing in barrel-racing competitions.
When the livestock business owner was interviewed by investigators, he admitted the summary was prepared by the defendant, she told him not to worry about the accuracy of the summary as accuracy was not important, and to please just sign the summary so she could move on with her life.
The law enforcement agency that investigated this case and gathered the evidence to support Friday’s conviction was the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.
The prosecutor handling the case is District Attorney David Eyster.
DA Eyster commented that cases such as this – submitting false documents and evidence in judicial proceedings — are shockingly on the rise locally and constitute a nefarious attack on the truth-seeking function of the local judicial system.
In just the last 12 months alone, six defendants have been charged in Mendocino County Superior Court with Penal Code section 134 violations.
When uncovered, the DA promised, those found responsible for attempting to use fraudulent documents in court proceedings — no matter whether those proceedings are civil or criminal — will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.