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Warrant issued for Martinsburg woman charged in fundraising theft

January 16, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A bench warrant was issued Tuesday for a woman who did not appear in court on charges that she failed to pay vendors who took part in a fundraiser for a terminally ill girl in April 2007.

Jennifer Nicole Swartz, 34, of 141 O'Connor Lane, Martinsburg, was arraigned in July 2007 on a felony count of obtaining money by false pretenses and five misdemeanor counts of writing worthless checks, according to court records. She was released on a $3,500 recognizance bond, court records show.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Harvey asked Magistrate Jim Humphrey for a capias or bench warrant to be issued for Swartz's arrest about 45 minutes after her scheduled hearing at 9:15 a.m.

Harvey said Swartz was told earlier Tuesday that she was expected to appear in court when she contacted Humphrey's office and said she was on her way to the hospital.

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A previous date scheduled for Swartz's preliminary hearing was rescheduled because she said she had a medical concern.

Harvey said he did not believe Swartz had retained an attorney.

Several victims and friends of the child appeared for the hearing on Tuesday.

The fundraiser, which was organized by Swartz, was held April 22 at the city's War Memorial Park for the girl, whose medical condition has reportedly worsened since the events.

Swartz also failed to give any of the event proceeds to the child's family, according to court records. Police have said the woman wrote checks amounting to more than $1,500 for shirts, balloons, two moon bounces, concessions and other services for the event.

According to court records, Swartz has been charged more than a dozen times for writing worthless checks since 2003 and a warrant was issued earlier this month for her arrest on another count of worthless checks.

Several of the charges were dismissed after Swartz paid restitution, according to court records.

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