A 27-year-old Hellertown man is facing criminal charges for allegedly forging a relative’s signature on a check and illegally withdrawing additional funds from her bank account.
According to a Hellertown Police Department news release and court documents, police began to investigate the alleged actions of Shawn Lee Cope of Main Street after his aunt contacted them in early June.
In an a criminal complaint against Cope filed in Northampton County District Court 03-2-04 late last month, Ofc. Carl Fischer said a red flag went up for the relative when a $100 check she was supposed to receive in the mail never arrived.
When the person who had issued the check contacted their bank, they discovered that the check had been deposited at the BB&T branch on Main Street in Hellertown, Fischer said.
“The victim informed (me) that her nephew, Shawn L. Cope, had deposited the check into the victim’s account, forging her signature on said check, and then took $100 out of her account, both with the utilization of an access device,” Fischer wrote in the complaint.
“The check was issued solely to the victim, who stated that she had never signed the check, authorized Cope to deposit it or authorized the withdrawal of the $100,” he added.
Fischer said he observed surveillance footage allegedly showing Cope using the branch ATM at the time of the unauthorized activity: approximately 9:09 a.m. on June 1.
After taking the initial complaint, Fischer said he was later informed of additional unauthorized transactions made using the victim’s access device at the 7-Eleven on Main Street in Hellertown, allegedly between May 11 and May 29.
A total of $808.01 was allegedly drained from the account in those transactions.
Still later–and after he took the initial report about the alleged check forgery–Fischer said he was informed by the victim of five other unauthorized bank withdrawals totaling $420 that allegedly occurred between June 22 and June 25.
Cope was connected to those withdrawals, Fischer said, via an electronic “CASH APP.”
“The account history lists the ‘CASH APP’ recipient as Shawn Cope,” he said.
Cope is charged with two felony counts of forgery, one misdemeanor count of access device fraud, two misdemeanor counts of theft and two misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property, according to county court records.
A preliminary hearing in his case is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20 at 3:15 p.m. before District Judge Alan Mege in Lower Saucon Township, per the docket for his case.
Court documents do not list an attorney for Cope.
Note: Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This story was compiled using information from police and court documents.