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Price found guilty of theft

July 07, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Twelve days after her bench trial ended, former CW Travel Inc. Manager Rebecca Calimer Price was found guilty Tuesday by Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley on five counts of felony theft.

Price, 30, of 32 E. Baltimore St. in Greencastle, Pa., was charged with five felony theft counts related to more than $23,000 taken from her clients in late 1999 and early 2000.

Beachley ordered her to be held at the Washington County Detention Center on $20,000 bond pending the conclusion of a pre-sentence investigation that could take about six weeks to complete. Adetention center spokesman said Tuesday night that Price posted bond and was released.

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Price remained composed while Beachley read his decision, but she showed some emotion when a bond amount was discussed.

Beachley said the maximum sentence Price could receive on each count is 15 years in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

Price was charged in two of the theft counts with stealing money from a co-worker and a businessman, both of whom wrote personal checks to Price for the purchase of airplane tickets that were sold to them in the form of vouchers.

Before returning guilty verdicts on those counts, Beachley referred to the testimony of Brendan O'Dowd, a business analyst with Airlines Reporting Commission, who testified that the voucher offer was "totally bogus."

"The defendant clearly had an intent to steal when she issued the flight vouchers," Beachley said.

Price also was charged with two counts of stealing money from two women, one of whom was a coordinator for a senior citizens group, who booked the same Caribbean cruise through Price and had on separate occasions each made out personal checks to Price for trip deposits. She was charged in one count with stealing money from a man who booked a NASCAR trip through Price and also wrote a personal check to her for a trip deposit. Neither of the trips came about.

Beachley said a check written to Price by Rose Straley for $5,300 "could not be traced to any other account" by financial analysts for the prosecution or the defense. He said Price testified she cashed Straley's check, but then went to get a certified check to make a deposit on the trip.

"The defendant's testimony in this regard is simply not credible," Beachley said, adding that a Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines representative testified that no deposits on the cruise were made.

Price said she is employed at Heritage Hills Retirement Home in Greencastle, Pa.

Straley said after the verdict, "I'm not satisfied. It'll be interesting to see what happens in six weeks."

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