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Casteel sentenced to ‘time served’

January 24, 2012

Daniel Casteel, jailhouse informant, narcotics offender and alleged embezzler of Sierra Gardens Nursery for more than $150,000, was sentenced to time served, more than four years, on Friday Jan. 13. Casteel denies any bargain between himself and Inyo County District Attorney Art Maillet over Casteel’s testimony in the Louis LePlat murder trial. File photo

Embezzlement suspect and controversial jailhouse informant Daniel Casteel is a free man – after being sentenced last week on long-standing charges of forging checks, use of a forged card to steal from dependents or seniors and possession of methamphetamine.
Casteel is out of jail on time served after receiving a sentence of four years and four months on a plea agreement. A restitution review hearing is set for Tuesday, Feb. 14.
However, it could not be determined by press time as to how exactly his custodial, or jail time, was calculated and added up. Calls to the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office for clarification and comment were not returned.
Casteel’s arrest and incarceration records are difficult to ascertain, personnel from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department Records Office reported.
Casteel, who served as a jailhouse informant for D.A. Art Maillet in 2010-11 against now-convicted murderer Louis LePlat, was arrested in June 2009 for defrauding the late Nancy Roberts, owner of Sierra Garden Nursery, out of an undisclosed but reportedly large sum of money. Jim Roberts, Nancy’s son, said the alleged embezzlement is close to $150,000.
Jim also said Maillet “ignored” the embezzlement charges after his mother passed away in July 2010. Roberts explained it was LePlat’s public defender’s questioning of Casteel during last year’s murder trial that finally prompted the D.A. to press the embezzlement charges in April 2011.
Roberts said in an interview in June 2011 that the actions of the D.A.’s Office and Maillet, “makes me question the safety of our seniors in Inyo County.”
There are conflicting reports as to exactly how long Casteel has been incarcerated. Casteel has also been adamant, via a letter to The Inyo Register, that no “deals” had been struck between himself and the D.A.’s Office in exchange for Casteel’s testimony in the LePlat case.
Available records reveal he was incarcerated for nine months from August 2009 to April 2010 and again for eight months from March 14 to Nov. 16, 2011, for a total of one year and five months served.
Court records reveal that after his initial nine months in jail, Casteel was then released to Orange County for drug rehabilitation. It could not be determined how long Casteel stayed at the facility. It was also previously reported that Casteel had escaped from a drug rehabilitation center in the Bay Area prior to appearing – without facing legal consequences for skipping out on court-ordered treatment – in Ventura County Court as a jailhouse informant against LePlat.

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