PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) The story got international attention, but it was deemed a hoax: Santa Claus, or a man dressed as him, walks into the bar at the East Providence Yacht Club, carrying a shotgun, and holds up the woman pouring drinks at gunpoint for some $3,000 in cash.
Wednesday, that woman -- who's accused of spinning the tall tale -- faced a judge for a hearing on her criminal charges of embezzlement and falsely reporting a crime.
The embezzlement over $100 charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years at the ACI; falsely reporting a crime, 1 year maximum, Judge Netti Vogel had a court clerk clarify during the hearing.
Christal Johnson, 39, of Cranston, had been on the job about three days, Judge Vogel noted, when the crime occurred.
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Johnson was offered three different plea deals based around paying restitution, and being given probation. But, if she chose a trial, a jury could still find her guilty and, potentially give her the maximum sentence, Judge Vogel said.
Johnson chose to go to a trial.
The case is due back in court in May. The trial is expected to last at least four days -- due to video evidence that's expected to be presented by the prosecution.
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