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Councilwoman's bad-check case placed on inactive docket

February 18, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Bad-check charges against Hagerstown City Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein were placed on an inactive docket Thursday in Washington County District Court.

Saum-Wicklein was charged last December with knowingly writing a bad check on Nov. 25 for $2,365 to Diamonds Etc. in Hancock, a jewelry retailer.

Saum-Wicklein is a first-time offender, and restitution has been made, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes said Thursday.

Retired Judge Darrow Glaser entered the case on the "stet" docket.

A case on the stet, or inactive, docket can be removed and prosecuted during the first year for any reason. After that, it can only be removed for good cause.

Saum-Wicklein wasn't in court. Contacted by telephone Thursday afternoon, she said she had no comment.

Last December, Saum-Wicklein had said she believed the check would be honored at the time she wrote it.

"It was the middle of the Christmas season and I wasn't paying attention to the account," she said then. "There was no malicious intent. It just happened."

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Saum-Wicklein, 47, operates The Jeweler's Daughter jewelry store in Hagerstown's Public Square. She was buying items to sell in the shop, she said.

She said she soon became aware the check was not honored and discussed the situation with Diamonds Etc. owner David D. Smith.

Saum-Wicklein said she was under the impression Smith was willing to wait until after Christmas for payment.

Smith said in December that he attempted to contact Saum-Wicklein on Dec. 4, 7, and 10. On Dec. 18 he filed criminal charges.

The maximum penalty for a conviction on a felony charge of knowingly writing a bad check for more than $300 is 15 years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Last year, Saum-Wicklein sold the assets of Saum's Credit Jewelers to pay off more than $91,000 in tax liens and other claims that had been filed in court against the company, Washington County Circuit Court records showed.

Saum-Wicklein has since reopened the shop under the name The Jeweler's Daughter at the same Public Square location.

Her family has had a presence in downtown Hagerstown since Hampton E. Saum, Saum-Wicklein's great-grandfather, established the business in 1896.

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