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Women who wrote counterfeit checks sentenced

February 02, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Two women convicted of writing thousands of dollars in counterfeit checks at area businesses were sentenced to jail this week in Franklin County Court.

Audra Caldwell Gonzalez, 31, of 166 Kennedy St. in Chambersburg, was sentenced by Judge Carol Van Horn to 11 months and 29 days to 23 months and 29 days in jail and three years on probation for several counts of bad checks and one count of theft by deception. She pleaded guilty to the charges Nov. 8, according to court records.

In December, Gonzalez was sentenced in Washington County to serve 40 consecutive weekends in the Washington County Detention Center for violating probation on a bad checks conviction, according to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. On Wednesday, the sheriff's office also served her with a warrant for bad check charges in Cumberland County, Pa.

Donna Kay Lucas, 29, of 256 Hamilton Ave. in Greencastle, Pa., was sentenced by Van Horn to four to 23 months in jail and an additional five years on probation for bad check charges she pleaded guilty to Dec. 18.

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Lucas also is wanted on bad check charges in Florida, according to sheriff's office records.

Her husband, Jeremiah E. Lucas, 20, for whom court records showed a Waynesboro, Pa., address, was sentenced in November to up to 23 months in jail on bad check charges. He was paroled Nov. 30, having served about 2 1/2 months, but then was turned over to the Washington County Sheriff's Department on a detainer for a bad check case in that state, according to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Chambersburg police charged the trio last year with writing worthless checks that they cashed for tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise and gift cards at Kmart, Giant Food and other businesses in Pennsylvania and Maryland between 2004 and 2006. The affidavits of probable cause stated the Lucases and Gonzalez wrote checks on closed or nonexistent accounts at several banks.

At the time of their arrests, police said the Lucases applied to open accounts at several banks using various names, then used information from the applications to order personal checks over the Internet. Some of the bad checks were used to purchase gift cards that they sold over the Internet, police said.

At her sentencing, Gonzalez was ordered to pay restitution, including $3,255.27 to Kmart and $1,534.03 to Giant. Van Horn ordered Donna Lucas to pay $2,051 in restitution to Kmart and $285.13 to Giant.

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