WARSAW — Jesse Richard Pena, Syracuse, was sentenced on a charge of theft in Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 Thursday, July 13.
Documents filed with Kosciusko Superior Court 1 on Feb. 1, 2016, state that on March 3, 2015, officials with Lake City Bank reported a check was received by mail Jan. 28, 2015, from Metior Garcia in the amount of $4,980 to be deposited into the checking account of Pena. The funds were withdrawn the same day.
Another check, in the amount of $9,850, was received from Garcia the following day with the same deposit request. However the checks were returned as fraudulent checks. Pena was contacted by the bank and advised of the fraudulent check and he could no longer remove any money from his checking account. Pena told bank officials he understood he was responsible for the money.
As of January 2016, Pena had failed to produce the money or contact the bank.
Police notified Pena by phone Jan. 13, 2016 about the fraudulent deposits. He told police he was doing work at that time for his friend Ross Smiley and had given him his account information. He reported the first deposit was Jan. 28 for $4,980. Pena said he took funds from the account and paid some bills, forwarding the money to his client’s boss. He said he sent $2,500 via money gram and $1,500 by Western Union. Pena could not tell police where he sent the money.
The investigating officer noted he recognized this as a common scheme used to steal money from a financial institution. Pena was arrested in November 2016.
Judge David Cates sentenced Pena to 1 1/2 years at the Kosciusko Sheriff’s Department. This sentence was suspended to be served on probation.
The state presented a restitution claim for $5,073.47 and Pena and his lawyer Mark Caruso stated that a deposit for $5,000 had been made.