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ISP investigating theft, forgery case

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Greencastle woman is facing multiple forgery and theft charges as state police investigators look for more than $85,000 in missing funds from a local doctor's office.

Lesa Hartman, 45, pleaded not guilty to six charges of forgery and six charges of theft last week. She was released on a $20,000 bond on Dec. 19.

According to a probable cause affidavit by Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Maudlin, Hartman was employed at a local physician's office where it was her job to pick up the doctor's mail every day.

Police allege Hartman took insurance checks that were made out to the doctor and applied his signature stamp and personal account number, which allowed her to cash the checks and pocket the money. Police allege Hartman did this 153 times from January 2005 to August 2007.

The checks totaled $85,778, according to the police officer's report.

Hartman, according to the report, confessed to Trooper Maudlin that "she had cashed the checks without the permission of the doctor."

During his interview of Hartman, Maudlin presented approximately 30 checks that were stamped with the doctor's signature stamp and, in some cases, bore Hartman's own signature.

"Lesa Hartman stated she took the money in order to pay credit card debt," the police report stated.

Hartman's attorney, Darrell Felling said he has received the checks from the state police and is in the process of "determining their validity."

"We're going to be scrutinizing these records very closely ourselves," Felling said.

Felling says his client was, in fact, authorized to cash the checks and that her alleged confession to the police officer should not be construed as an admission of wrongdoing.

Bookwalter said Hartman is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in late January.

The forgery charge is a class C felony and carries a range of sentencing of two to eight years in prison.

The theft charge is a class D felony and carries a possible sentence of six months to three years.

Both charges carry a possible $10,000 fine.

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WOW! Simply amazing. When I owned a business in Putnam County and would make deposits to the bank. It was an interrogation just to make a deposit let alone withdraw any kind of money. Even as the sole business owner myself. I couldn't imagine a bank allowing a citizen to cash another citizens check. Just amazing.

-- Posted by Hungry&Fat on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 11:18 PM

For god's sake, can we call the Attorney General's office to request a complete audit of PUTNAM County! Sheriff's Office, Roachdale, VanBibber Lake, Doctor's Office, did I leave anyone out? Come one come all, move to Putnam County, where you can steal, get caught and go home. (Only if you're embarrassed enough. I would say scrutinize the checks all you want, just another case of a lawyer taking someones money for their defense after they admitted to taking the checks, and then cashing them. What happened to facing up to what you did? I guess, the rule of thumb around this county, is get caught, confess and still nothing will be done about it. Wonder how busy the Prosecutor's Office is right now? I'll bet their even putting in for overtime. How can that office keep letting these people off?

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 7:54 AM

One more thing, it states this happened from 2005 thru 2007. Why did it take the Doctor this long to figure out something wasn't right? Makes me want to go to his office.

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 7:56 AM

I can't figure this one out. If this happened for two years, did the Doctor's Office books not balance. I would assume bookkeeping is still practiced the way it was 40-50 years ago. Balance, Balance, Balance! When a check would come in, was it not posted? And if it wasn't posted, wouldn't you still have an outstanding balance somewhere!!!

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 8:37 AM

Everybody is having hard times....but you don't have to steal

-- Posted by sad_but_true on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 2:10 PM

This is just unbelievable! I recently had an insurance check that was made out to me and my husband and I couldnt even just write deposit only to deposit it into our joint savings account without it having both signatures.I find this story just amazing and the number of times she was allowed to do this. I also thought over a certain amount there was a 3 day hold over certain amounts on a check.

-- Posted by bam on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 8:11 PM

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