Forest City couple accused of providing oxycodone to woman who later died after accident plead guilty

FOREST CITY — A Forest City couple charged with providing oxycodone to a woman who later died as the result of an accident in Hancock County have pleaded guilty.

61-year-old Bert Maharas and 63-year-old Joni Maharas were charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a Class C felony. A criminal complaint says they sold oxycodone pills on May 31st to Tara Hartigan of Forest City, who later that day was involved in a rollover crash on 335th Street west of US Highway 69 in Hancock County. Hartigan died the next day at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City.

The complaint says during a conversation between the Maharases and law enforcement on October 22nd about messages found on Hartigan’s phone, they allegedly admitted that Hartigan bought anywhere between 15 to 20 oxycodone pills from them each month.

Both Bert and Joni Maharas on Tuesday filed written pleas of guilty to one count of possession with the intent to deliver oxycodone. Prosecutors will recommend that Bert Maharas be given a suspended 10-year prison sentence with a period of up to five years probation, while the recommendation for Joni Marahas is a deferred judgment with up to five years probation.

Both are scheduled to be sentenced on April 16th.