ShareThis Page
News

Fraud defense in check cashing arrest nixed by federal judge

| Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

A New Castle police officer had probable cause to arrest a man who converted one forged check into cash and tried to convert a second, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Scott Tomasello, 35, of New Castle claimed in his lawsuit that he was the victim of an Internet fraud perpetrated by someone named “Jessica,” who asked him to use the forged checks to open bank accounts for her and then withdraw nearly all of the money.

He claimed that police Sgt. Kevin Seelbaugh lacked probable cause to arrest him in March 2012 on forgery and other charges after First National Bank reported the forged checks.

Lawrence County prosecutors dropped the charges after he paid restitution.

U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry said Seelbaugh had reasonable grounds for making the arrest.

“In light of his attempts to quickly convert the fraudulent checks into cash, and his use of different locations, a reasonable person could conclude that Tomasello had the intent to defraud the bank,” the judge ruled.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me