September 2, 2014

County looks to recoup funds from former inmate

By Tim Barnum
Staff writer
Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — While Patrick Fender, a 53 year old Moffatt Township resident, was housed in the Arenac County Jail, a nurse who assisted Fender, who is also a paraplegic with only one arm, was paid $22.50 per hour, a cost that Board of Commissioners Chairman Raymond Daniels says hit the county for about $20,000.

Now, with the assistance of Arenac County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Vollbach, Daniels says the county will attempt to regain as much of those funds from Fender as possible.

“The county will try to recoup some funds from a gentleman who was in jail and received some special care,” Daniels said, adding the amount that will be recouped is unknown. “Other people (guilty of crimes) have to pay restitution costs and that’s what this is.”

For recruiting the services of Vollbach, the county commissioners formulated a contingency plan to reward Vollbach’s services. Daniels says Vollbach and the county will split the reimbursements.

“Whatever we recoup, he (Vollbach) gets one-third of it,” Daniels said. “If we collect, he collects.”

By working out a contingency plan, Daniels says the county is avoiding paying Vollbach with existing county monies.

“We’re not spending any more money to go after it,” he said. “The county already spent money on this (when Fender was incarcerated).”

Even though the county is aggressively seeking to recover some costs from Fender, Daniels says not all inmates who require special care are expected to pay back the costs incurred by the county.

“A lot of people get in jail and they don’t have two nickels that they can rub together,” he said. “Some people have funds available, some don’t.”

Daniels also added it seems Fender does have enough money on hand for the county to at least attempt to recover some of its expenses for his care.

And even though the costs were around $20,000 to ensure a healthy jail term for Fender, Daniels says some external forces helped save as much as possible during his local incarceration.

“MediLodge helped a lot,” he said, adding the Sterling long-term care center allowed the county to use a bed for Fender’s cell, amongst other things. “If it hadn’t been for them, it would have cost a lot more.”

Fender was sentenced for first-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with an underage female in Arenac County’s 23rd Circuit Court on June 4.

The motion to give Vollbach the go-ahead on attempting to recoup the funds was made at an Arenac County Board of Commissioners meeting on Sept. 10.

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