Judge orders money returned to man charged with marijuana possession, fraud

Becky Campbell • Mar 21, 2013 at 10:16 PM

More than $4,500 seized from a Johnson City man charged with marijuana possession and fraud will be returned to him, a judge ruled Thursday.

Christopher Workman, 27, 305 Delaware St., was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly attempted to return an iPod shuffle at Walmart because he had just exchanged it for a damaged one, according to a court document.

When Johnson City Police Officer Yee Chai arrived at the store and approached Workman, Chai smelled marijuana, he noted in the arrest warrant.

“The odor of marijuana was so strong I asked (Workman) if he had any marijuana on him,” Chai wrote. Workman told the officer he wasn’t sure, but that he had smoked “five bowls and taken some Suboxone” before going to the store.

Chai asked Workman for permission to search him, and Workman consented, the officer said in the warrant.

Chai said he found a small white bag in Workman’s shoe that contained approximately 23 grams of marijuana. The officer also found $4,478 — mostly in $50 bills — in Workman’s coat pocket.

Workman told Chai the money was from an inheritance he had recently received, but the officer noted Workman had no proof of that.

In a seizure hearing Thursday morning, Judge James Nidiffer ruled that Workman was entitled to keep his money and ordered the Johnson City Police Department to return it.

During Workman’s arraignment later in the day, he told Nidiffer he’ll use the money to hire an attorney and bond out of jail.

Workman was being held on $11,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 27.

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