Attorney charged with forging court order

January 11, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — An attorney is accused of forging a court order after being paid $1,000 by former West Virginia University basketball standout Kevin Pittsnogle for legal services that were not provided, according to court documents.

Kenneth J. Ford, 37, was arraigned Wednesday by Berkeley County Magistrate JoAnn Overington on single felony counts of forgery of a public record and false pretenses, the court documents said.

Overington set a $10,000 bond for the defendant, according to court records.

Ford, who has had a law office at 100 Mahogany Court in Martinsburg did not return a message Wednesday.

Charging documents filed in magistrate court this week indicate Ford resides at 8 Charles Plaza, Apt. 1502, in Baltimore.

West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.M. Walker said in court documents that he asked Ford if he forged the court order because Pittsnogle was “bugging” him about providing the legal services in question and wanted to get the victim “off his back.” The attorney responded, “pretty much,” according to court documents.

The trooper said Ford revealed he was able to forge the court order because he had another one that had previously been signed by 24th Family Court Circuit Judge William T. Wertman Jr. and Berkeley County Deputy Circuit Clerk Vicki Robinson, according to court documents.

“Ford advised he cut and pasted the signatures and used a photo copier to produce the counterfeit court order,” Walker said in the complaint.

Ford said he did not have time to actually take court action on Pittsnogle’s behalf, but had done the work, the document said.

“When questioned, Mr. Ford stated he had no employees or office help and he simply worked out of his home,” Walker said in the complaint.  

Pittsnogle told police he paid Ford $1,000 in cash in June or July of 2011, and was not contacted by the defendant until September via text message regarding a court hearing that had been set that month, according to court documents.

On the date of the hearing, Pittsnogle told police he was contacted by Ford again via text message and informed the court hearing was rescheduled for November because the other party in the case could not be reached, according to court records.

Police allege Ford gave Pittsnogle the forged court order at a gas station a couple days after the victim was told that the September hearing was postponed.

Pittsnogle told police that he had asked Ford to provide a court document outlining the date and time of the November court hearing, court documents said.

Before coming to the Berkeley County Circuit Clerk’s office with the forged court order on Jan. 3, Pittsnogle told police Ford sent him another text indicating that the November hearing was continued as well, the documents said.

Last week, the Circuit Clerk’s office determined that the civil action number on the court order that Pittsnogle said he obtained from Ford actually pertained to an unrelated case, which was assigned to a different Family Court judge, the documents said.

After reviewing the document, Berkeley County Circuit Clerk Virginia M. Sine told police that the signatures of Wertman and Robinson were not forged, but the signatures themselves were never affixed to the fictitious court order, the documents said.

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