Monday Jun 04 2012
Head injury, personality change cited in Placer County campaign aide's fraud sentencing
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Head injury blamed for sudden change in personality at time of thefts
AUBURN CA - Roseville resident Brian Jagger was spared jail time Monday by a U.S. District Court judge for siphoning off more than $24,000 from the campaign funds of three Placer County elected officials. Citing medical and probation officer reports indicating Jagger was suffering from a sudden personality change that could have been related to both a sudden weight loss of more than 100 pounds and a concussion he received in a face-first fall, Judge William Shubb said that while there was an agreement on a possible cause, he still had to send a message. So Shubb added a $2,000 fine on top of more than $24,000 in restitution Jagger is being ordered to pay back to District Attorney Scott Owens, Supervisor Kirk Uhler and retired Auditor Controller Kathy Martinis. As well, Jagger will be subject to home monitoring on a GPS ?shackle? for six months and be on probation for 36 months. Jagger pleaded guilty last summer to a single wire-fraud charge. He admitted to taking a little more than $22,000 from Owens, $1,600 from Uhler and $800 from Martinis campaign funds. ?There is no reason for the court to doubt the representations made regarding Mr. Jagger?s physical and mental health,? Shubb said. ?But the court is somewhat concerned about the message to be sent out to the public.? Shubb suggested a $2,000 fine would be appropriate as an added sanction. ?My concern is that it not be made to appear that crime pays,? Shubb said. Jagger addressed the court before sentencing. ?I want to continue to rebuild my life and make my family proud of me again,? he said. Jagger was charged in December 2010 with embezzling campaign funds. At the time, he was Uhler?s $95,200-a-year district aide. Over the previous year he had gone from 316 pounds to about 200 pounds after bariatric surgery. Defense attorney Kyle Knapp of Sacramento said in his sentencing statement that Jagger?s personality changed after the sudden weight loss and a seizure that resulted in major head trauma. Knapp said that with new information coming out about head injuries, Jagger?s personality split and the thefts appear to be related. ?This is not some idle claim to avoid the consequences of his theft,? Knapp said. ?Virtually everyone who knew him during that time will tell you he was not the same person.? Uhler, who didn?t attend Monday?s sentencing, said in a phone interview that the personality change was marked. ?He became something other than the person I?ve known for 16 years,? Uhler said. ?It affected every part of his life, including his work for me.? The traumatic head injury occurred when Jagger was representing Uhler at a Roseville Chamber of Commerce even in April 2010. ?He was standing up and then just blacked out,? Uhler said. ?He fell head-first onto the concrete and suffered a severe concussion. For the next 1 months he was in a world of hurt.? Uhler said he met with Jagger before charges were made and said he probably wouldn?t be renewing his contract as aide. Jagger now works in public relations with the tax-limitation movement and part-time as a fitness trainer. Shubb said the monitoring system, which allows work-related activities, would provide a means for Jagger to pay off restitution debts and then, the fine. Knapp said Jagger, a father of two, is working for $3,500 a month in a lobbying and administrative post. Jagger apologized to the victims, as well as his family and friends. None were in the Sacramento courtroom. Martinis described the Jagger case as a sad one on Friday. Owens couldn?t be reached for a comment. Jagger vowed to never return to the court again ?in this capacity.? Jagger also thanked the people who turned him into authorities after discovering the crime. ?Thanks for doing the right thing in reporting my action and which I believe, saved my life,? he said.