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Woman gets one year of probation in ticket scam

The Seminole resident will have to pay about $2,750 for making copies of courtesy passes to the Seminole Mall theater.

By MAUREEN BYRNE AHERN
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002


SEMINOLE -- Jan Marie Stater, the woman who sold bogus passes to the movie theater at Seminole Mall, pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor.

At a hearing Wednesday, Judge Paul Levine withheld adjudication and sentenced Stater to one year of probation. He also ordered her to pay a $500 fine and about $2,250 in restitution to five victims.

Stater, who lives in Seminole, could not be reached for comment.

Stater, 32, was accused of making fake copies of the theater's courtesy pass and selling them to unsuspecting victims. She was charged in April with fraudulent creation or possession of an admission ticket, said Kim Campbell with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

Entertainment Film Works will receive the bulk of the reimbursement because the theater lost about $4,000 in the scam.

Jeff Vetter, general manager of the theater, is just glad the ordeal is over.

"My biggest goal was to get her to stop doing this," he said Thursday. "This woman really created a lot of problems for us."

Vetter said Stater came to the movie house before Fall Festival Days, an annual event in November sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Seminole. He said she asked an assistant manager for some free passes so they could be raffled at the festival.

The theater gives courtesy passes to patrons if they become ill during a movie or if a film has technical problems, Vetter said, but rarely gives out courtesy passes for charity events.

However, the assistant manager made an exception and gave Stater a handful of passes to give to the Kiwanis club for the raffle. But Stater also sold some passes at the event for $3 a piece, a $3 savings for an adult ticket.

But it didn't end there, says Marianne Pasha, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Stater continued making copies and selling them even though Vetter told her numerous times to stop.

Throughout December, the fake passes kept trickling into the theater, Vetter said. It came to a head for him when a woman called him on Jan. 31 and said she had bought about $300 worth of passes from Stater on Jan. 15, Vetter said. The woman also told him Stater "had a stack of them in her car," he said.

-- Information from Times files was used in this report.

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