Update by Chuck Fager
Wichita, KS — On this Friday the 13th, U.S. Judge Monti Belot accepted Priscilla Deters’ plan for remaining free on bail until her sentencing, but imposed tough restrictions on the now convicted felon, and spoke darkly of her likely jail sentence. Belot also predicted that there might be additional prosecutions in the multimillion dollar church fraud case.
Belot set bond for Deters at $200,000, and gave her until today to post it. Rather than come up with that amount herself, Deters made arrangements with a bonding company, to which she was obliged to pay a reported twelve percent of the total, $24,000, as a fee which will not be returned. The source of the $24,000 was not made public.
This bail fee could be thought of as a kind of rent; it buys Deters about nine weeks of freedom. Belot set the sentencing date for May 22, and reiterated his intention to send Deters to jail at that time, not waiting for any appeal.
In addition to the steep bail amount, Belot set tough restrictions on Deters for this period: He ordered her not to have any contact with her victims or investors, and to cease any efforts to raise funds. He also ordered that Deter’s identical twin sister, Phyllis Beaver, be required to surrender her passport.
This was due to the sisters’ close physical resemblance, which the judge regarded as increasing the potential risk of flight. When Deters’ attorney, Steve Gradert, said Deters had told him her sister did not have a passport, the judge retorted that he did not believe anything Deters said, and insisted that government passport records be examined.
Deters was also directed not to leave her home area–except, the judge added, to answer any additional indictments. Deters defrauded churches and persons in 21 states. There are reports that Kansas federal prosecutors have been contacted by prosecutors in other states, regarding use of the extensive body of evidence they obtained and introduced at the trial.
Future prosecutions might not be limited to Priscilla Deters alone. Judge Belot noted that Deters had been aided by several other persons in her fraud scheme, and he said these other persons, included both family members and Quaker pastor Randy Littlefield, a defense witness whom Belot scorned as “despicable.” All, he declared, were “candidates for indictment.”
Deters’ future, according to the judge, is bleak. Under federal law, she could receive as much as four years for each of the twelve counts on which she was convicted. Belot said that in passing sentence, he would take into account the number of her victims, the amounts involved, her extensive efforts to obstruct investigations into her activities, and her lack of any signs of remorse. He stated that Deters, who is 63, would likely spend the rest of her life in prison.
Watch this site for continuing updates on this case.