Two Custer County residents were sentenced Thursday to 10 days in county jail and three years of probation for stealing from a nonprofit riding group.
Tiffany Lynn Thovson, 25, and Jerry Smedshammer, 75, pleaded guilty to a Custer County charge of conspiracy to commit theft by deception, according to court records. The conspiracy, authorities said, involved Thovson’s collecting money from Rapid City-based SunCatcher Therapeutic Riding Academy after submitting fake billing statements for veterinary services and supplies in 2014.
The riding academy, whose services include therapy sessions and Special Olympics training, had to stop some programs in 2014 after Thovson led the organization to believe its horses were seriously ill. Thovson was a SunCatcher employee and Smedshammer a board member and volunteer at that time, board member Jean Johnson said in an interview.
As part of Thovson and Smedshammer’s probationary conditions, 7th Circuit Judge Jeff Davis ordered them to pay back SunCatcher $14,600. Davis also sentenced each to suspended executions of three years in prison and 50 days in jail.
Because both pleaded guilty, two of their original charges were dismissed: theft by deception and forgery for Thovson, and theft by deception and criminal solicitation for Smedshammer.