Restaurant Owner In Court

Restaurant owner gets probation after a change in the course of events in the case of 37-year-old Rafael Mora of Murray and his venture into the restaurant business.

Mora was convicted of two Class IV Felonies and two Class II Misdemeanors for writing four bad checks totaling over $20,000 in 2011 when he was involved in starting up the Don Rafael Restaurant in Murray.

In previous court hearings, it was acknowledged that the victims of the bad checks (food companies) were mainly interested in getting their money and the defense was granted continuances to try to make that happen before sentencing.

In a court hearing earlier this spring, defense attorney Julie Bear said it was hoped the pending sale of the restaurant property would put enough money in Mora’s pockets to make full restitution. That did not happen as the lender foreclosed and the property was sold. Mora “did not get any funds from that sale,” she said Tuesday.

Chief Deputy Cass County Attorney Colin Palm—who said at the hearing earlier this spring he was “hesitant” to agree with a continuance at the time—said this week the prosecution could not recommend probation.

The Mora case was the first of four cases scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday. With the new development of Mora not being able to make immediate restitution, Cass County District Court Judge Randall Rehmeier said he wanted to “ponder” the case for awhile so he went through the other sentencing hearings first and then recalled the Mora case about 45 minutes later.

There were two choices, said Rehmeier, send Mora to prison or set up a long probation with a restitution order. Rehmeier decided on probation and ordered Mora to pay $350 per month starting June 1st. The probation term was set for 60 months but Rehmeier agreed to consider ending that earlier if Mora makes full restitution.

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