By Gary Lloyd
A Trussville woman involved in a theft scheme using forged checks to buy auto parts was sentenced this week in Jefferson County Circuit Court.
Patricia Ann Forest, 57, of Trussville, entered a plea Monday, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Judge Laura Petro sentenced Forest to a 15-year split sentence, with two years to serve in prison, according to the sheriff’s office.
Forest was arrested in April 2012 by Birmingham police and was charged with six counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument and one count of second-degree theft.
Hoover police in April arrested and charged 45-year-old Howard Jeffrey Fitts, of Birmingham, while attempting to pass a forged check at a business in that jurisdiction.
Fitts was charged with four counts of second-degree theft of property, two counts of possession of a forged instrument and four probation violations.
Deputies began investigating the case when a forged check was presented at a local car dealership as payment for parts
. It was soon learned that several checks had allegedly been presented at area parts dealers by Forest and Fitts.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Randy Christian said at the time that the suspects obtained accounting and routing information from a victim’s account and used them to manufacture fake checks. The checks were used to pay for auto parts, which were subsequently sold to small automotive shops at a reduced price, he said.
“These shops were unaware that the parts were purchased using forged checks,” Christian said at the time.
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