Windsor woman jailed
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 26, 2007
WILLIAMSTON – A Windsor woman faces 51 felony charges following her arrest here Sunday.
Loretta Valencia, 35, of 550 Cedar Landing Road, was arrested and charged with 17 felony counts each of forging, uttering, and obtaining property by false pretense in the wake of an alleged check writing scheme.
According to Sergeant Ricky Morris with the Windsor Police Department (WPD), Valencia apparently began writing checks a few weeks ago using several closed accounts.
&uot;Most of these accounts have been closed for over a year. They were written off of closed accounts from T.O’s Backhoe Service and the personal accounts of Valencia herself, Kathy Barlow and Moses Valencia,&uot; Morris explained.
Moses is Valencia’s estranged husband. He was one of the first who initially alerted police to the illegal check writing, according to Morris.
&uot;This happened here in Bertie and in surrounding counties, including Pitt, Washington, Martin and Hertford,&uot; Morris added.
He continued, &uot;I have been in contact with detectives from law enforcement agencies in those counties and they are in the process of their own investigations on this.&uot;
Morris said that he had talked to officials from Belk’s in Williamston and was told that she had been writing the checks to purchase merchandise and then later returning it for cash.
Upon her arrest and a search of her room at the Ross Motel in Williamston, officers found a computer, printer, box of blank checks with nothing on them, a different box of business checks and one that had been printed with that same paper.
&uot;It appears that she has been printing out fake business checks for other businesses in the county and other places,&uot; Morris noted.
He also said that officers found what appeared to be drugs in the hotel room along with store-bought items with new price tags.
The WPD charged Valencia with the 51 felonies, but other charges are expected to arise in Martin and other counties.
&uot;All this has happened within the last two to three weeks. They (the checks) haven’t had time to clear or be returned to the closed accounts, because she’s (Valencia) been doing it so rapidly that the other departments haven’t had time to catch up yet,&uot; Morris also said.
He added, &uot;Our main concern at this point is just for people to be on the lookout for these checks.&uot;
Valencia is being held at the Bertie Martin Regional Jail under a $500,000 secured bond. Her first court appearance was yesterday (Wednesday).
If any business owner in any county has seen a check written off one of the accounts listed above, they are urged to contact their local police department.
The Windsor Police Department can be reached at 794-3111.