Union woman arrested for forging church check

By Juliette Laaka | Jun 18, 2014

Rockland — A 35-year-old Union woman was arrested June 17 for forging a check given to her by a local church to help her pay utility bills.

Bail was set at $1,000 cash for Terri Ingraham June 18 after she was charged with felony counts of theft by deception, forgery, and a misdemeanor charge of violating conditions of release. The illegal conduct occurred in late April, according to an affidavit filed in Knox County Superior Court.

Ingraham was convicted of theft in 2011 and 2012 in Knox County Superior Court and Waldo County Superior Court.

Ingraham, who is not a member of the People's United  Methodist Church in Union, but contacted The Rev. George Hodgkins seeking financial assistance. Hodgkins decided to write out a $200 treasurers check addressed to Central Maine Power, said court papers.

The money was from an account the church maintains to help people in need. Ingraham told Hodgkins she owed $3,000 in utility bills, and that her husband had been out of work for months, said the affidavit.

Ingraham then went to the Burkettville General Store and bought cigarettes and beverages with the money, because she forged the word cash from the previously written CMP. She received $180 in cash back from the clerk.

When the store owner, Melissa Young, reviewed the financial transactions of the business, she noticed the discrepancy, said court papers.

A video of Ingraham shows her signing the check and paying for the four items she bought at the store.

Young contacted Hodgkins, and confirmed he had written out the check to CMP, not Ingraham. Young then contacted police, who opened an investigation.

Police attempted to make contact with Ingraham many times, and said she was avoiding law enforcement and thus not cooperating with their investigation,  said Knox County Sheriff's Office Deputy Matt Elwell.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at jlaaka@villagesoup.com.

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