Michael Johnson, 55, (center) listens during his sentencing hearing Wednesday. Johnson was sentenced to three years of community control including 180 days in jail for passing bad checks. Johnson had claimed to be the owner of a Van Wert restaurant. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Michael Johnson, 55, (center) listens during his sentencing hearing Wednesday. Johnson was sentenced to three years of community control including 180 days in jail for passing bad checks. Johnson had claimed to be the owner of a Van Wert restaurant. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
VAN WERT — A man who has claimed ownership of a Van Wert restaurant but was arrested after writing a check from the restaurant account was sentenced Wednesday in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas.

Michael Gregory Johnson, 55, Van Wert was sentenced by Visiting Judge Roger Wilson on a fifth-degree felony charge of passing bad checks. Due to sentencing law, Wilson noted that he could not send Johnson to prison, opting instead for three years of community control with 180 days in jail, 104 days credit for time served and 76 days suspended.

Wilson asked a series of questions questioning Johnson’s claim that he is “extremely remorseful” for the incident.

“The probation department doesn’t think you’re remorseful,” he warned. “This comment was offered to the court, ‘The offender may prove to be difficult to supervise on community control, given his manipulative personality and his history of taking advantage of others’ trust.’”



Johnson disagreed with the assessment and stated that he will have restitution paid off in “two to three weeks” by getting money from his business and from doing consulting work in the Cincinnati area.

The charge that Johnson pleaded guilty to involved the writing of a check for $4,000 on a Black Swamp Bistro account which he was not allowed to use. Wilson ordered that Johnson also pay restitution to the First Bank of Berne for returned check fees, court costs, and a $150 fine. Johnson must also perform 200 hours of community service. An 11-month prison term was deferred pending the successful completion of community control.

Judge Kevin Taylor sentenced Larry Brincefield, 51, Delphos to one year of community control on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. Brincefield was given credit for 21 days in jail already served. He was also ordered to serve an additional 30 days in jail, complete a substance abuse treatment program and pay fees and court costs. A 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine were deferred pending the successful completion of community control.

Two persons were arraigned in court Wednesday by Judge Charles D. Steele. Terry Warren, 27, Van Wert pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree felony theft. He was released after posting a $25,000 bond with 10 percent of that in cash. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 2.

Nathan Braun, 31, Van Wert pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree felony drug possession. Braun was released on bond and ordered to attend an April 2 pretrial hearing.

Dyllen Redding, 23, Convoy, was sentenced for violating the terms of his parole. Redding admitted to failing to provide a current address to probation in one case and for not reporting to his probation officer in a second case.

Redding was sentenced to 12 months in prison with credit for 83 days served in the first case, and to 11 months in prison with 40 days credit in the second case. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Ashley Burk, 25, Van Wert, admitted violating her probation by associating with felons and by not reporting to probation. Burk was resentenced to three years of community control including a stay of up to six months at the WORTH Center in Lima. She was released on bond until the center is able to accept her.

Also on Wednesday, Kyle Goodwin, 25, Van Wert, signed a waiver to request a continuance of his April 10 trial.