A Port Allegany woman is accused of stealing $6,200 after depositing a $16,750 check into her account that did not clear, then mailing money she received from the bad check to another person.
Julia E. Phillips, 40, of 1050 Lower Portage Road, was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge William Todd on charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft of property lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake and receiving stolen property, all third-degree felonies.
The criminal complaint outlines the timeline of events from when Phillips first deposited the check and when she was charged.
Phillips met a man online in December and gave him her personal information so he could open an account. He sent her a box of checks, and she was going to help him by writing checks to his employees, according to the complaint.
On June 12, Phillips deposited the $16,750 check at Hamlin Bank and Trust Co. in Smethport. The check was from an account in her name at Redwood Credit Union; on the check, there was no address of the credit union, only a phone number and email address, court records stated.
On June 16, she cashed a check from her account at Hamlin Bank made payable to herself for $15,000, according to court records..
About 9 a.m. June 17 — before Phillips was notified that the check did not clear — she mailed $8,800 via FedEx to another person, the complaint stated. A bank employee called around 10 a.m. that day and informed her that the check for $16,750 did not clear.
The employee asked Phillips if she still had the $15,000 cash she withdrew, and Phillips said she did have the money and would bring it to the bank after work that day, according to court records.
The complaint alleged that at 3:47 p.m. June 17 — after she knew that she needed to return the money — she went to the post office and mailed the remaining $6,200 to the second person.
Phillips allegedly failed to show up June 17 to return the money, court records indicated. On June 18, she chose to stop receiving her paychecks by direct deposit to Hamlin Bank.
According to court records, Phillips returned to the bank on a later date with her father and explained that she mailed the money to two different people and did not have it to return. She asked if she could return the money in payments.
As of July 30, Phillips’s account was $16,008.70 overdrawn, the complaint alleged. A Smethport police called Phillips that day to set up a time when she could fill out a statement regarding the bad check.
As scheduled, Phillips, along with her father, appeared at the police station on Aug. 3 to provide a statement of the events.
Phillips is free on $20,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 5.