AWAITING FATE: Ducharme to be sentenced in money case

SHERMAN, Texas — A Columbia City man initially arrested in April for money laundering, but who pleaded guilty to another charge earlier this month should find out his fate in the next several months.According to court records, Duane Ducharme, 70, pleaded guilty July 2 in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas to misprision of a felony.Ducharme was initially incarcerated in the Collin County Jail April 13 after being observed by agents of both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Drug Enforcement Agency as part of what those agencies said was an ongoing investigation.Investigators alleged Ducharme and a man named Jason Peebles were seen exchanging a large storage tub, which was placed into the trunk of Ducharme’s car.Agents then followed Ducharme to a store where he purchased a shipping box.Ducharme was then approached, according to the affidavit, and gave agents permission to search his trunk.Authorities report that four individually-wrapped bundles of currency were retrieved from the tub. They then took Ducharme into custody.Ducharme, who still has property in Whitley County, remained in jail until May 9 until his then attorney, Gregg Gibbs, posted a $40,000 surety bond.A representative of Gibbs’ Texas-based office said last week that Ducharme was no longer represented by that firm.On June 12, attorney Jason Lee Butscher entered his appearance as Ducharme’s counsel.After pleading guilty July 2, Ducharme was found guilty by Judge Marcia A. Crone on July 3.According to the U.S. District Court office, Judge Crone will be the sentencing judge. A sentencing hearing will not be set until a pre-sentence report has been completed by the probation service. In most cases, a court official said, the probation report can take a minimum of 90 days.Misprision of a felony, itself a federal felony, could result in a prison term of no more than three years and a fine of no more than $250,000.The charge is defined as having knowledge of a felony and choosing not to report it.Neither Ducharme, nor his attorney could be reached for comment.