Lyza Johnsen, owner of Johnsen & Johnsen Legal Support Services in San Luis Obispo, was sentenced on Dec. 13 for three felony counts and one misdemeanor ranging from grand theft to writing
Johnsen amassed the charges over about a year, each with its own lists of various charges. She reached an agreement with the District Attorney’s office and pleaded no contest to one charge in each of the four cases on Nov. 8.
Under the agreement, she’ll have to pay restitution to all victims listed in the cases. According to the Office of the District Attorney, Johnsen ripped off six victims for a total of about $117,000. In one case, for example, Johnsen bilked a Morro Bay fisherman out of $24,000. She also took Pacific Western Bank for about $28,000. Johnsen agreed to pay about $30,000 in restitution to the bank and one other victim, Smith Volvo in SLO, but will fight the other amounts in a later restitution hearing.
Johnsen is concurrently serving three years probation on a felony charge stemming from Santa Barbara County.
According to Johnsen’s probation report, which details the background of her various cases, she began writing bad checks after a few of her clients stiffed her. From there things snowballed.
“It was always her intention to make good on the outstanding checks,” the report states, “but she could never catch up.”