Prison for defrauding businesses
Robert Edward Matthews Jr. to serve time for writing bad checks
A Philadelphia man’s distinguishing characteristic of having only one arm helped authorities identify him as a thief who wrote bad checks worth more than $7,000 to businesses in Lansdale and Towamencin.
Robert Edward Matthews Jr., 62, of the 4700 block of Loring Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to one to three years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking in connection with incidents that occurred in April 2017. Judge Thomas C. Branca, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter, also ordered Matthews to complete two years’ probation following parole, meaning Matthews will be under court supervision for five years.
The judge also ordered Matthews to pay a total of $7,665 in restitution in connection with his crimes.
Branca said Matthews is eligible for the state Department of Corrections’ Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program, commonly referred to as “Triple R-I,” which enables certain offenders to receive reductions of their minimum state prison sentences if they successfully complete all required treatment and maintain good-conduct records in prison. Prisoners can be released upon completing the program only if officials are satisfied that the offenders pose no risks to public safety.
While in the state prison system, the eligible offenders are evaluated for treatment needs and risks and offered counseling and treatment programs specifically geared for their individual needs. The treatment programs are designed to reduce the risk of recidivism, officials said.
If Matthews is admitted to and successfully completes the program he could reduce his minimum sentence to nine months, according to court documents.
With the charges, prosecutors alleged Matthews, on April
26, went to Roy Lomas Carpets and Hardwoods in Towamencin and purchased 814-square-feet of hardwood for a total of $4,096 and provided a personal check for the purchase. When the business attempted to deposit the check, it was returned by the bank for the reason “unable to locate account,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Towamencin Detective Patrick Horne.
Officials of the business described the customer as a man with a “hook for a hand” on his right arm. Surveillance footage from the business clearly showed the suspect with a “prosthetic right hand/arm,” Horne alleged.
Investigators subsequently uncovered a second fraudulent transaction carried out by Matthews on April 28 at Cargo Trailer and Sales on West Eighth Street in Lansdale. Matthews paid for an open car trailer and associated registration fees, totaling $3,569, with a personal check, according to the criminal complaint filed by Lansdale Police Officer Nicholas Oropeza.
Employees of Cargo Trailer and Sales later learned the check was fraudulent. Authorities alleged Matthews used a fictitious name to carry out the fraudulent activity at both businesses.