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Tarentum woman sentenced to 3 years for writing bad checks

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 12:56 a.m.

A former Tarentum woman has been sentenced to three years in federal prison on her second bank fraud conviction in the last 10 years, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday.

According to federal prosecutors, Suzanne Czwalga Andre, 48, formerly of Allegheny Street, Tarentum wrote $21,000 in bad checks at various branches of Citizens Bank from July to November 2011.

Federal authorities say she committed the crimes while on supervised release after a nearly six-year sentence on a bank fraud charge stemming from her purchase of a Fox Chapel home with an ill-gotten cashier's check worth nearly $400,000.

As a result, she will be sent to state prison for more than five years.

According to court documents, Andre wrote nine bad checks totaling more than $21,000 from a bank account in her mother's name and another that she opened in her and her mother's name.

Two of the checks, amounting to about $7,700, were written on an account in Andre's child's name.

Andre later admitted that she wrote the bad checks, according to court documents.

She said she often gained the trust of bank employees and car dealerships by telling them a lie that she was receiving a financial settlement for an accident that happened while she was in the Allegheny County Jail, according to court documents.

Andre is to spend the next five years in prison.

She will first serve a 27-month prison term for violating supervised release, which will be followed by her three-year sentence on the latest bank fraud charge. She will return to supervised release for five years.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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