A Casper man is charged with creating and possessing a bogus COVID test form to use as an excuse to not meet with his probation officer.

James Arner, 43, heard the two counts during his initial appearance by videoconference from the Natrona County jail before Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Brian Christensen on Wednesday.

The first count is forgery, which is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.

The second count is possession of forged writings, which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.

Arner told Christensen that he is on probation in Converse County for felony child endangerment with methamphetamine.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri said during and after the initial appearance that Arner allegedly forged a COVID test with a positive result to avoid having to meet with his probation officer.

Arner allegedly found the COVID test template on line that had a doctor's signature, Taheri said, adding the affidavit supporting the charging documents did not state how the forgery was discovered.

He recommended a $3,000 cash or surety bond for Arner, who asked for a lower amount.

Christensen responded the recommended $3,000 is low, especially since Arner is already on probation for a felony.

The judge imposed the $3,000 bond.

Arner will have a preliminary hearing in 10 days if he does not bond out and 20 days if he does. At the preliminary hearing, the state will present evidence that a crime was committed and that the accused probably committed it. If the judge agrees, he will be bound over to District Court for trial.

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