A second judge has refused to dismiss criminal charges against Lancaster County Treasurer Andy Stebbing, inching his case a step closer to trial.

In an order filed Sunday, Johnson County District Court Judge Julie D. Smith, who is hearing the case, said the state met its burden of showing the crimes were committed and there was probable cause to believe Stebbing committed them.

At trial, evidence would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, a higher legal threshold.

Stebbing is charged with two counts of falsifying bills of sale, two counts of filing false state income tax returns and one count of acting as an unlicensed motor vehicle dealer, each a Class IV felony.

His attorney, Sean Brennan, argued that the county court judge shouldn't have bound the case over to district court because the state had failed to meet its burden of proof.

Smith wrote in her order that Brennan also argued the falsification of the cash sale price in a bill of sale is a Class III misdemeanor. However, she said, that charge could include mere omissions, unlike the statute Stebbing is charged under.

"The court, in reviewing the evidence from the preliminary hearing, focuses on whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant violated Neb. Rev. Stat. 60-179(5) as charged, not whether he could have been charged under another statute," Smith said.

She found that the state met its burden to show that Stebbing was aware of his obligation to report income derived from sources other than his W-2 from his employer and to show that he had acted as a dealer and not a "bona fide consumer" when he bought and sold cars.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said evidence shows Stebbing was selling vehicles as a business without a dealer's license. He used Craigslist and Facebook to sell 12 vehicles in a 12-month period and tried to sell a 13th.

Under state law, anyone who sells more than eight vehicles in a 12-month span must register with the state as a dealer.

Stebbing hasn't yet been set for arraignment.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.



Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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