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Man who failed to repay $45,000 gets 5 years in jail

February 01, 2001

Man who failed to repay $45,000 gets 5 years in jail



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


Failure to repay more than $45,000 owed when he used his mother-in-law's name on bogus credit cards and forged checks resulted in a five-year prison term Tuesday for a 54-year-old Hagerstown man.

John Ellsworth Brantner Jr., of 1928 Abbey Lane, admitted violating his probation by not keeping up payments on the restitution.

On Tuesday, Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell imposed the remainder of Brantner's original 15-year sentence for felony theft and theft, scheme, suspending all but the five years.

At his June 1997 sentencing, Brantner cried softly as he told McDowell that he spent much of the money paying medical expenses for his late wife, who had been battling cancer.

But then Brantner began buying expensive gifts and giving them to friends and family, according to his attorney.

At that time, McDowell sentenced Brantner to 15 years in prison but ordered him to serve only 18 months in the Washington County Detention Center, which he did.

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The judge also directed Brantner to pay restitution of $1,000 a month when released from jail on five years probation.

Those payments weren't made as directed, court records said.

More than 100 charges were originally filed after an investigation that began when the victim told police she had been getting phone calls from credit card companies seeking payment for cards she didn't have, police reports said.

Six credit cards had been obtained in the woman's name and sent to Brantner's former address in Boonsboro, police reports said.

A number of photographs taken at ATM machines around Washington County also showed Brantner making transactions with the credit cards, police reports said.

According to police reports, the incidents began in late June 1995, shortly after the death of Brantner's wife, the daughter of the victim. They continued through March 1996.

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