Mostajo set for pre-trial in memorial fund case |

Mostajo set for pre-trial in memorial fund case

After failing to appear at an arraignment last month, Laura Mostajo, a Grass Valley woman accused of taking money from the memorial fund of her former brother-in-law, entered a not guilty plea Monday in Nevada County Superior Court.

Judge Robert Tamietti set a pre-trial conference for Mostajo at 9 a.m. Oct. 3.

Mostajo is charged with felony grand theft and accused of taking money from a memorial fund she set up for Robby Johnston, her former brother-in-law, who died in January in a car accident on Highway 20.

Mostajo told investigators that she used about $2,500 from the Johnston memorial fund to pay her rent, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal told The Union in April.

The memorial account at Citizens Bank in Grass Valley had a total of $3,587, with donations from Johnston’s friends, co-workers of Lance Smith, who is Johnston’s stepfather, as well as local service clubs, Royal said.

Smith said Mostajo stopped returning his phone calls in February after he found he couldn’t access the memorial account. He subsequently contacted the sheriff’s office.

In a separate case, the sentencing for Santos Delgado, a North San Juan man who was arrested in May on suspicion of assaulting his son and attempting to murder him, was postponed on Monday to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 2.

The probation department needs more time to make their reports, said Jody Schutz of the Public Defender’s Office.

“As the investigation ensued, the seriousness (of the case) turned out to be less than what law enforcement officers had originally believed,” Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis said last month.

“Originally, the charge was attempted murder, but now the facts show a different thing,” Schutz said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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