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Woman gets 4 years in fraud case

The owner of a San Luis Obispo legal services firm charged with defrauding victims of more than $100,000 was sentenced Monday to four years in state prison, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Lyza Coreen Johnsen, 35, of Paso Robles was sentenced by San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy to a four-year term for swindling multiple victims out of about $116,000.

Johnsen pleaded no contest Nov. 8 to two counts of grand theft and two counts of writing checks with insufficient funds.

A no contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.

Victims included a handful of companies — such as Pacific Western Bank — as well as three individuals, according to prosecutors.

Johnsen’s attorney, Ron Crawford, did not return a call seeking comment Monday about the case.

According to a police report, Johnsen’s schemes included writing a computer technician more than $13,000 in bad checks for work he performed. She also took $24,000 in payments for work she promised but never performed, police say.

The report also said Johnsen persuaded an employee of Los Padres Bank (which since has merged with Pacific Western Bank) to provide Johnsen with cash after she wrote a check from her account with San Luis Trust Bank. But because the employee didn’t properly hold the check until it cleared, the check bounced, investigators said.

Johnsen was the owner of Johnsen & Johnsen Legal Support Services in San Luis Obispo.

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