Jim Peterson, former president of HomesNOW!, at SafeHaven on May 11. // Photo by Zack Jimenez By Ella Banken Jim Peterson, former president and co-founder of HomesNOW! pled not-guilty to the charge of theft in the first degree at his arraignment on Friday, Nov. 8. Peterson’s pre-trial hearing is set for Wednesday, Dec. 18. Peterson was arrested on Friday, Nov. 1, and booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree theft. Peterson was released on bail of $10,000 Monday, Nov. 4. The conservative estimate of funds misappropriated from the non-profit was $75,000, according to Lieutenant Claudia Murphy of the Bellingham Police Department. The maximum penalty for a charge of first degree theft in the state of Washington is 10 years in prison and a fine of $20,000. Theft in the first degree, which is the theft of anything that exceeds $5,000, is considered a class B felony in the state of Washington.