Friday, August 10, 2012

Bellevue women face forgery charges

Police allege theft from 1 defendantís grandmother

Express Staff Writer

Kayla Joe Dugger, top. Lisa Rene Damiano.

Two Bellevue women have been charged with forgery or grand theft for allegedly stealing or forging checks on the bank account of one suspect's grandmother.

Lisa Rene Damiano, 32, is charged with three counts of felony forgery, a crime punishable in Idaho by up to 14 years in prison. Kayla Joe Dugger, 25, is charged with one count of felony forgery and two counts of felony grand theft, a crime also punishable in the state by up to 14 years in prison.

According to Hailey police reports, the women allegedly forged numerous checks on Dugger's grandmother's bank account from April through July when an investigation was started. Dugger is also accused of two counts of grand theft for allegedly stealing the checks and stealing and using two of her grandmother's credit cards.

According to the police reports, the grandmother, 72, initially declined to press charges but actively assisted with the investigation after closing her bank account and becoming aware that checks continued to be written on the account.

Specifically, Damiano is accused in a criminal complaint of forging the signature of the grandmother on three occasions. The complaint alleges that she forged a check on July 10 for $160 to the Hailey office of Dr. Donald Spengler, on May 21 for $24.98 to Chateau Drug in Ketchum and on May 14 for $50 to Atkinsons' Market in Hailey.

Damiano is scheduled for arraignment on the charges on Aug. 20 in Blaine County 5th District Court. At an initial court appearance in Blaine County Magistrate Court on July 26, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Angela Nelson argued for a high bond, saying that Damiano had a "lengthy" criminal record. Bond was set at $10,000 and Damiano remained incarcerated Thursday in the Blaine County jail.

Dugger also remained in jail on Thursday with a bond set at $50,000. She was initially released on $5,000 bond following an initial court appearance in magistrate court on July 26. However, she was arrested again on Aug. 1 after a Hailey police investigation found that she had allegedly stolen and used her grandmother's credit cards.

There are two criminal cases now pending against Dugger, one on the check theft and forgery charges and the second on the credit-card charge. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Aug. 14 and Aug. 22.

At a preliminary hearing, a magistrate court judge determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence against a defendant to transfer the case to the higher district court for further prosecution.

Both women have been assigned public defenders for legal counsel.

Terry Smith:

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