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Uniontown woman faces trial on forgery charges

| Thursday, June 14, 2012, 11:55 p.m.

A Uniontown woman will stand trial on charges of forgery, access device fraud and receiving stolen property, following a preliminary hearing on Thursday before District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr.

Francine Susanna Ptak, 43, of 67 Milton St. was accused of using a former acquaintance's credit card to make numerous charges in November totaling nearly $750.

Yesterday James Ritenour identified Ptak as someone he "dated for about three days, six years ago."

He testified that Ptak was not authorized to use his bank card.

In November, he noticed suspicious withdrawals on his bank account and went to state police.

Several witnesses identified Ptak as the person who placed orders with Rick's 50's Cafe, Mundel's Furniture and Zep's Furniture, allegedly using Ritenour's credit card.

Additional charges on the card were made with the Home Shopping Network, testimony showed.

Ptak did not testify yesterday.

After the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Mark Brooks said Ptak was a "repeat felon." He said she faced a prison term of two to four years on each charge, or a total of eight to 16 years, and asked Haggerty to reconsider her unsecured bond.

Haggerty changed the bond to $10,000 straight cash.

When Ptak protested that she could not pay it, Haggerty told her, "You can make a phone call."

Ptak became distraught as a police officer attempted to place her in handcuffs.

Public defender Tom Shaffer, the officer and people who had accompanied Ptak to court attempted to calm her.

"Please post it. I have a medical problem. I can't go," Ptak begged.

She faces arraignment in Fayette County Common Pleas Court on July 19.

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