GALLIPOLIS — Alleged to have forged six checks, in addition to stealing more than $1,000 and being in the possession of stolen items, a Gallia County man was sentenced to prison this week in Gallia County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty to multiple charges in two separate cases.
David A. White Jr., 33, of Bidwell, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction after pleading guilty to six counts forgery, theft and receiving stolen property.
White was first indicted in December 2013 after he allegedly stole $1,056.50 from the victim between Aug. 18-23, 2013, by forging six separate checks of various amounts from $130 to $328.
According to to the police report filed with the Gallia County Sheriff’s office, an investigation into this case began after the victim reported that checks had been stolen from his home and that six of those checks had been written out to David White and cashed over a period of time in late August.
White, an acquaintance of the victim, may have entered the victim’s house, the victim reported to investigators, and taken his checkbook that was located in the bedroom of the residence.
Following his arrest on a warrant on indictment on Dec. 30, White appeared for an arraignment in this case and was subsequently released on an own recognizance bond. Reportedly, while out on bond, White was charged in a second case after he was allegedly in the possession of two stolen checks — the property of Abels Enterprises LLC — on March 10 and March 13 of this year.
An indictment in this newest case was filed in early April.
Pleas were negotiated in both of White’s cases, and a plea and sentencing hearing was later scheduled for earlier this week.
Gallia County Assistant Prosecutor Britt Wiseman, who represented the state of Ohio in this case, reported that forgery cases are a type of case that the prosecutor’s office takes very seriously.
“Over the past several months, our office has become involved in several forgery cases in which unsuspecting victims’ checks or other negotiable instruments have been stolen and written for outlandish sums of money,” Wiseman said. “People in this community work hard for what they have and we intend to do everything in our power as prosecutors to make sure that we fight to protect them and to protect their property from those who have decided to take a shortcut through life.”
Fellow Assistant Gallia County Prosecutor Eric Mulford also commented on the number of forgery cases that are handled each year by the prosecutor’s office and reported that forgery is not a victimless crime.
“Just as our office is devoted to prosecuting burglary and breaking and entering cases, we are just as concerned with forgery cases where the bank accounts of hard-working residents are being drained by others without the account holder’s permission,” Mulford commented. “These cases and their imposed prison sentence should serve as a reminder that forgery is not a victimless crime and that the Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is committed to holding these individuals accountable for their actions.”
During Tuesday’s hearing before Judge D. Dean Evans, White appeared with his appointed counsel Barbara Wallen and pleaded guilty to all seven counts in his first case and one count of receiving stolen property in his second case.
He was sentenced to 12 months in a state prison for each count of forgery and the one count of theft in his first case — sentences to be served concurrently with each other — and was sentenced to six months for receiving stolen property in his second case for a total of 18 months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
He was further ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,056.50 to the victim in his first case and $1,138.50 to the victim his his second case.
White was given credit for a total of 92 days served, was ordered to have no contact with the person or property of the victims and must pay the costs of prosecution.