Former mall managers indicted for theft

A Juneau husband and wife, who formerly managed the Airport Mini Mall and Apartments as a couple, are being accused of theft.

Paul E. Hansen, 63, and Cheryl L. Hansen, 67, are each being charged with one count of first degree felony theft. Charging documents essentially allege that over $50,000 of deposits, or money belonging to the Mall, was kept by the Hansens.

Paul Hansen did the maintenance. Cheryl Hansen did the bookkeeping. They say they worked as managers for nine years, getting use of the manager’s house near the mall and a $1,000 a month when they left in May 2010. An indictment handed up by a Juneau grand jury on November 4th alleges that the theft happened sometime between May and June of last year.

The Hansens do not have attorneys yet. But Cheryl Hansen spoke to reporters after Wednesday afternoon’s arraignment hearing. She predicted that everybody that they know or have worked with “would be dumbfounded” once they found out about the charges.

Right now, Cheryl Hansen says she “feels overwhelmed.” Her husband Paul suffers from a variety of severe medical ailments and she says they were just at the hospital emergency room Tuesday night – the night before arraignment.

The couple is on a fixed income, their $2200 in combined monthly social security and disability benefits largely going to apartment rent and basic expenses. Cheryl Hansen told Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez during the hearing that they do not currently have any debt, but a collection agency is after them for old medical expenses. Paul Hansen says he cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Public defense attorneys are being assigned to each of them.

If convicted, the Hansens would – as first time offenders – likely be sentenced to as much as three years in prison. The maximum sentence for felony theft in the first degree is ten years in prison, $100,000 dollar fine, and 25 years on probation.

Menendez carefully repeated explanations of court proceedings for the Hansens and entered a ‘not guilty’ plea on their behalf.

Their next hearing is November 28th.