Big bounce: $40K check leads to charges


A West Liberty man could be facing as many as three years in jail after allegedly passing a bad check for more than $40,000.
The Union County Grand Jury has indicted Benjamin L. Harmon, 68, of 210 W. Baird St., West Liberty. Harmon is charged with one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle and passing bad checks.
Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips said Harmon went to a local car dealership and selected a 2017 Honda CRV. He made arrangements to pay for the vehicle.
“He was to have presented a certified check, but came in on a Saturday and presented a personal check, which was no good,” Phillips said.
The prosecutor added, “He absolutely would not have gotten the vehicle without passing the check.”
He said Harmon left the car dealership and has not been heard from again.
“The auto dealer tried to recover the vehicle but was unsuccessful.” Phillips said.
The prosecutor said the matter was not a civil case of insufficient funds because Harmon allegedly knew he did not have the money to pay for the vehicle. In essence, prosecutors said, Harmon lied to the dealership, tricking them into giving him the SUV.
“When you give a check to someone, you are representing that your account has sufficient funds to cover that check,” Phillips said. “If you know you don’t have the money, then it becomes a criminal act.”
He added, “We think the evidence will show he knew that that was not a good check,” Phillips said.
Also indicted was:
– Tina M. Hoffman, 41, of 15010 Hagenderfer Road, Plain City. Hoffman is charged with one count each of tampering with records, forgery and petty theft.
Hoffman had a vehicle. Phillips said that between May and June of 2014, she went to the title office and allegedly told officials there that she lost the title and needed a new title. The title office issued a duplicate title.
Phillips said Hoffman then got a loan and used the car as collateral for the loan. Hoffman allegedly gave the loan company the duplicate title for the lien.
“She sold the vehicle to someone else, allegedly presenting the clean title to the buyer,” Phillips said.
He added that Hoffman allegedly defaulted on the title loan.
If convicted on all counts, Hoffman could face as many as six and a half years in prison.
– Timothy Jason Bellomy, 38, whose court-listed address is the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg. Bellomy is charged with one count each of grand theft of a motor vehicle and theft.
According to court documents, on July 31, Bellomy allegedly stole a 1998 Chevy pick-up truck with a load of lawn care equipment.
If convicted on all counts, Bellomy could face as many as 30 months in prison.

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