FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A Fayetteville woman was given 15 years in prison for posing as a California sheriff's deputy in order to spring her boyfriend from jail.
Maxine Feldstein, 30, pleaded guilty Monday (May 13) in Washington County Circuit Court to forgery, third-degree escape and second-degree criminal impersonation.
Judge Mark Lindsay sentenced her to 30 years in the state Department of Correction but suspended half of the sentence.
Feldstein presented false paperwork to the Washington County Detention Center in July 2018, which fooled the jailers into releasing her boyfriend, Nicholas Lowe.
The pair was arrested about a month later in Fayetteville.
Lowe pleaded guilty in February to third-degree escape and was given one-year in prison, but credit for 167 days served. He must abide by a five-year suspended sentence after he's released from the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Lowe told Feldstein to pose as a deputy from the Venture County Sheriff’s Office in Ventura, Calif., in order to trick Washington County jail staff into releasing him, according to court documents.
Lowe said Feldstein should tell Washington County that VCSO was “having issues with overcrowding and all low-priority extraditions have been suspended,” according to the affidavit.
Feldstein, who had bonded out of jail earlier that day, called the jail and identified herself as deputy “L. Kershaw” with VCSO. She also provided a forged VCSO document releasing the agency’s hold on Lowe.
Jail staff learned of the forgery and accidental release two days later, when a VCSO deputy called to say he was on his way to pick up Lowe.
The sheriff’s office discovered through jail video that Lowe told Feldstein to pose as a VCSO deputy while she visited him, according to the affidavit.
Washington County later confirmed the VCSO document Feldstein used was fake, and that VCSO didn’t have a deputy named “L. Kershaw,” according to the affidavit.