Felony forgery charges filed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2007

AHOSKIE – A simple telephone call prevented additional financial misery for an Ahoskie woman and led to the arrest of an Ahoskie teen on six felony charges.

According to Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh, 19-year-old Tamara Denise Parker of 1305 North Maple Street was arrested last week and charged with two felony counts each of forgery, uttering and obtaining property by false pretense.

Parker was transported to the Hertford County Jail under a $30,000 secured bond. She made her first court appearance on Tuesday.

On Thursday of last week, the victim, whose identity is being withheld, was checking her bank balance through a 24-hour account information phone line. She was stunned to learn she had a negative balance.

“The victim advised us that when she heard that she had a negative balance, she hung up and called back to make sure she was hearing the right information,” Fitzhugh said. “Upon making a second phone call to her bank, she was advised of the same information.” After that verification, the victim contacted the bank’s customer service center and spoke with a representative who advised the victim to contact her local law enforcement agency.

Upon receiving the information from the victim, Ahoskie Police Detective Lt. Michele Garrett started an investigation. As a result of investigation, Parker was caught at an Ahoskie bank trying to cash another check belonging to the victim as well as other checks belonging to other people. Chief Fitzhugh said a further investigation is underway concerning the other checks not belonging to the original victim.

“The suspect was taken to our office for further questioning where she admitted to committing the crimes,” Fitzhugh said.

Chief Fitzhugh said it was possible that the victim’s checks were mailed in error to the suspect’s Post Office box.

“Upon receiving those checks, we believe Parker used two of the checks, filling in the payee line with her name and then allegedly forging the name of the victim as the payer,” Fitzhugh said.

The investigation further alleged that Parker, by using the victim’s checking account number, applied for a bank card over the Internet and used that card to purchase items through Internet retail sites.

“Lt. Garrett and (APD) Detective Sgt. Roberts did a good job of following up on the information gained from the victim and making an arrest in this case,” Fitzhugh said. “Financial fraud is a growing concern, especially with senior citizens as targets. We will investigate all complaints of financial fraud and will actively pursue those who are committing these crimes.”

Fitzhugh said a broader investigation is underway regarding the other checks. He has solicited the help of Major Tim Lassiter of the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office in that investigation.