Trial set after Port Townsend police say man stole checks from mailboxes, deposited funds

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A Port Hadlock man faces a December trial after police said he stole checks from mailboxes, changed the names of the recipients to his own and deposited them into his bank account.

Donald Eugene Green III, 27, remained in the Jefferson County jail Thursday after his arrest Tuesday for investigation of forgery and second-degree theft as well as a probation violation.

He appeared in Jefferson County Superior Court on Wednesday. It was recommended he be released on his own recognizance, but he was taken into custody because of the probation violation, according to court records.

Bond is set at $25,000.

His trial is set for Dec. 1-2, with pretrial hearings scheduled for Oct. 17, Nov. 7 and Nov. 21.

Port Townsend police said he could face up to nine counts each of forgery and second-degree theft.

Green stole checks from about five people, opened the envelopes and used chemicals to blot out the payee's name on the checks to his own, Officer Luke Bogues said.

He then photographed the checks after writing in his name on the payee line and deposited them via phone image into his own account at First Federal, leaving the amount and signature intact, Bogues said.

Green was identified after the victims took note of the missing money and alerted the financial institutions, Bogues continued.

Bogues said Green was known to police and easily tracked down, resulting in his arrest behind the Port Townsend Laundromat on Tuesday.

Bogues said the case differs from that of Adam Lysiak, who was sentenced in March to more than four years in prison — 51 months — after he pleaded guilty to bank fraud, possession of stolen mail and aggravated identity theft in November.

About 1,000 pieces of stolen mail were recovered from Lysiak's home in Port Townsend when he was arrested in February 2013.

Lysiak created false identities from the stolen mail with the creation of bogus driver's licenses that he used to cash forged checks, Bogues pointed out.

“This one was a little less work,” Bogues said.

“He was using his own name and password and had left an electronic trail.

“It was an easy way for him to get fast cash, but it caught up with him very quickly.”

Bogues said Green deposited four checks totaling $847.73 before First Federal officials discovered what he was doing and prohibited more deposits.

Green attempted to deposit five more checks, Bogues said, and all were refused.

The five victims in the case are from Alaska and Port Townsend. They told police the checks were either incoming or outgoing to curbside mailboxes.

Green used a cellphone-based mobile banking application to deposit the forged checks, making it harder to notice that the checks had been modified, police said.

The cellphone application takes photographs of the checks, making some of the telltale physical signs of erasing the original payee's name harder to detect.

The investigation is continuing.

Anyone else who feels he or she may be a victim is asked to phone the Police Department at 360-385-2322.

________

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 04. 2014 8:03PM
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