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Allegheny County man charged with forgery, theft from Western Butler County Authority

The Western Butler County Authority facility in Zelienople. Butler Eagle file photo

A Monroeville man is facing forgery, theft and other charges for allegedly forging the signatures of local sewer authority board members on checks for more than $4,000 and cashing the checks in out-of-state banks.

Zelienople police filed 10 felony charges against Ronald Pareece Wiggins II, 34, for forging and cashing two checks totaling $4,637 from the Western Butler County Authority, according to an affidavit filed Thursday, Nov. 30.

Police said authority manager Autumn Crawford and office administrator Evan George came to the station Nov. 9 and reported that West Virginia-based bank WesBanco contacted them about fraudulent checks cashed at branches in West Virginia and Ohio.

A check for $1,957 written out to Wiggins was cashed at a branch in Woodsdale, W.Va., on Nov. 7, and a $2,680 check made out to Wiggins was cashed at a branch in Barnesville, Ohio, on Nov. 8, according to police.

A teller at the Woodsdale branch wrote a Pennsylvania driver’s license number in the endorsement section on the back of the check below Wiggins’ signature. Police said they checked the license number and it matched the Monroeville address listed on the checks.

On Nov. 21, a WesBanco branch manager sent police an email with a copy of the driver’s license used when both checks were cashed. Police said the copy of the license confirms that Wiggins was present when the checks were cashed.

Crawford said the bank contacted the authority when a male tried to cash a third check at another branch in West Virginia, but the male left the branch after he was confronted, according to police. That branch is in Triadelphia, W.Va.

She told police the fraudulent checks contained signatures for authority board members Ronald Lutz and Thomas Tomayko, but the signatures were different from those of Lutz and Tomayko.

In addition, Crawford reported the checks are similar to those issued from the authority’s operating account and had the authority’s account and routing numbers on the bottom of the checks, according to police.

The authority has no record of Wiggins being an authority customer or employee, or of any checks being issued to the Monroeville home listed on the checks, police said.

Police filed two counts each of forgery, counterfeiting an access device, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and identity theft against Wiggins, who hadn’t been arrested as of Thursday.

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