Prison for de­fraud­ing busi­nesses

Robert Ed­ward Matthews Jr. to serve time for writ­ing bad checks

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

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