BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Some 240 forgery, theft and related charges against a 29-year-old Scranton man and a 27-year-old Tunkhannock woman were bound over last Wednesday (Dec. 19) to Wyoming County Court.
William J. Harvey Jr. and his girlfriend, Krystal Marie Smith, waived their rights to preliminary hearings in incidents across nine dates over the past five months.
Court records show that on five different occasions, Harvey purchased merchandise at Gay’s True Value in Tunkhannock and paid for it with checks from M&T Bank’s Dallas branch.
In each instance, Harvey presented a Pennsylvania driver’s license, and the checks were all accepted, totaling $1,950.
All five checks, however, were returned to Gay’s for insufficient funds and it was assessed a $50 service fee by M&T.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Wyoming County Chief Detective David Ide, Harvey tried to buy a rifle on Sept. 29, but lied on the Firearms Transaction Form, claiming that he did not have an addiction or any criminal history, a fact Ide said was not true.
Furthermore, an internal M&T Bank investigation revealed that Harvey had opened a checking account in July with a balance of $5 and made no further deposits.
The bank, according to the numerous complaints filed, noted that thousands of dollars of checks had been issued by Harvey before the bank could close the account.
Herron Lumber, VanDuzer’s Service Station, Dana Hardware, Brick’s Market, and the P&G Employees Federal Credit Union in Tunkhannock were all targets of Harvey’s and Smith’s various schemes, the complaints note.
In one instance, a witness noted that he drove Harvey and Smith to Herron Lumber in October where Harvey had purchased a nail gun and drill drivers, and on the same day he drove Harvey to the Trading Post Pawn Shop in Wilkes-Barre where he sold the nail gun he had purchased just hours before.
The witness told police he thought Harvey was using the cash to buy heroin.
After investigators contacted the Trading Post, they learned on three separate occasions, Harvey had sold the pawn shop a high definition television, a drill, and a nail gun.
According to related complaints, Smith’s involvement was two-fold.
She told police she had stolen checks from her mother that were from an old account that had been closed, and then forged her mother’s signature purchasing things like a chainsaw and generator, and then selling them for cash to be used for buying heroin.
One complaint also charges that Smith also accepted checks from Harvey from an account they knew had no money in it, and then she cashed them at the P&G Credit Union to the tune of more than $1,500.
Harvey faces 52 counts of theft by deception, 50 counts of bad checks and 26 counts of conspiracy to commit theft by deception across incidents that occurred on July 28, Aug. 21, Sept. 5, Sept. 9, Sept. 29, Oct. 5, Oct. 10, and Oct. 22.
Smith faces 38 counts of theft by deception, 38 counts of bad checks and 36 counts of conspiracy to commit theft by deception across incidents that occurred on July 28, Aug. 21, Oct. 5, Oct. 10, Oct. 13, and Oct. 22.
For the above charges, Harvey and Smith are to be arraigned in the Wyoming County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 1.
According to court records, charges are also pending against Harvey and Smith for additional incidents that allegedly occurred in Factoryville Borough on July 19; in Northmoreland Township on Oct. 24; and in Tunkhannock Borough on July 7, July 19, and Oct. 13
No preliminary hearing dates have been set at the magistrate’s level on those additional criminal charges.
Both Harvey and Smith are in the Wyoming County jail.