Valley Journal
Valley Journal

Wife sentenced for part in theft of $28K in coins

Husband’s cases pending

POLSON – A district court case in which a married couple is charged with stealing more than $28,000 worth of coins and precious metals moved forward last week. 

Crystal Lynn Waugh, 28, and Michael Paul Furbush, 27, were charged last October with felony theft after they allegedly stole the goods from a Ronan man who had allowed the couple to live with him. 

Waugh was sentenced to five years in the Department of Corrections with two years suspended for theft on July 6 by Judge Kim Christopher as part of a plea agreement. She was given credit for 237 days in jail and recommended for the Elkhorn women’s drug treatment center in Boulder. 

Christopher said Waugh is jointly and severally liable for $28,833 in restitution for the stolen coins and ingots, including at least some of which was sold at two Ronan businesses. Some of the coins were recovered from Waugh during a Feb. 9, 2016 traffic stop. 

The couple was also cited for possession of illegal drugs following a Dec. 11, 2015 traffic stop. In that case, Waugh gave a police officer a used syringe that tested positive for methamphetamine, but Furbush later stated that the needle was his, a court document states. 

A drug charge against Waugh was dismissed as part of a plea agreement last week, but Furbush still faces charges for possession of illegal drugs and theft. Separate charges of making threats and witness tampering were dismissed without prejudice by Christopher on May 16. 

Deputy county attorney Ben Anciaux said the charges could be refiled, but were dismissed because there was not a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial. 

That charge was made after Furbush allegedly threatened to blow up the Lake County Jail.

According to a court document, Furbush texted Waugh’s father, James Waugh, and said that Furbush was not going to jail, was going to blow up the jail and had been working on it for a month. Furbush also allegedly said that the jail was going up in flames, that Waugh would never see his daughter again and threatened to kill James Waugh and another woman. 

Furbush, who listed residences in Polson and Kalispell in court documents, had been held on a $100,000 bond following his Feb. 22 arrest in the threats case. Following its dismissal, he was transported to the Glacier County Jail on May 18. A judge there released Furbush on his own recognizance on May 19, according to a jail employee. 

Furbush’s attorney, Britt Cotter, filed a motion in district court on March 2 to exclude Crystal Waugh’s testimony against Furbush because she is his wife. Cotter said the couple was married in Maine on July 27, 2012. 

Cotter also filed motions on May 9 to compel Crystal Waugh’s parents to be deposed because they were uncooperative. James and Terry Waugh were arrested so that they could be deposed, but later released because Cotter was unavailable because he had broken his leg while rafting on vacation, Anciaux said. 

The Waughs were later ordered by summons to appear for questioning by Cotter at his Polson office on Monday, July 17, court records state. 

In court on April 20, Cotter said the parties had a plea agreement set up but Furbush changed his mind. A June 26 trial was vacated and a new trial date has not been set yet. 

The penalty for a theft conviction is up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $50,000. 

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