Chelan County, WA is prosecuting a woman for marrying a man before she was divorced from a different man.
Lorena Juarez, 32, of East Wenatchee, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted on a charge of bigamy — having more than one spouse.
Juarez married a 54-year-old man in November 2007. He died in January 2008. Following his death, Juarez withdrew about $17,000 from a checking account the two shared and a memorial fund account on which she was the signer, according to an East Wenatchee police investigation.
The man's children and ex-wife approached police,
claiming Juarez was not entitled to the money. Because Juarez was still
married to another man, the deceased man's family claimed her marriage
to him was invalid and her claim to the assets void. Juarez' divorce
from her previous husband was finalized in February.
Douglas County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Biggar said his office declined charging Juarez with fraud and forgery, as recommended by East Wenatchee police, because she acted within the normal limits of a marriage. Biggar said the claim is a civil one.
Douglas County forwarded the bigamy matter to Chelan County, where Juarez' marriages took place, Biggar said.
By Jay Patrick from Wenatchee World