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Woman sued for giving former employer's name to police

Published October 4, 2012 9:33 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy resident Serell Wolfert is suing a woman for giving Wolfert's name to police when they tried to cite her for jaywalking.

Wolfert filed a lawsuit against Marnie Coates in 3rd District Court on Wednesday for the cost and emotional distress of defending herself against a crime she didn't commit.

Last May, an officer allegedly saw Coates jaywalk from a TRAX stop at 860 S. 200 West in Salt Lake City to the west side of the street and stopped her. When he asked Coates who she was, she gave her former employer's name and birthday — Wolfert's — after initially giving a fake name, according to the complaint.

The officer did not cite Coates for the jaywalking, but he did cite her for providing false information to a police officer — for the first fake name — believing she was Wolfert.

"[She] told me that she was afraid her husband would find out she was downtown," the officer wrote in his report.

When Coates failed to make her arraignment, the Salt Lake City Justice Court issued a warrant for Wolfert's arrest. That's when the real Wolfert found out Coates had used her name.

The real Wolfert was found not guilty and the case was dismissed. Now she's taking Coates to court for defamation, emotional distress and identity theft.

The complaint does not specify how much Wolfert is seeking in damages.

mmcfall@sltrib.com