New York police arrest man wanted in Aspen
Aspen Times Staff Writer
A man charged with forgery and theft in Aspen 18 months ago was arrested in New York on July 3.
Gerald Bennett, 55, was arrested in Canastota, N.Y., by New York State Police. An arrest warrant was completed for Bennett, a former Aspen resident, by local police in December 2000.
According to the warrant, Bennett allegedly forged 40 checks belonging to his employer when he worked as a bookkeeper for Walter’s Carpets in Aspen, owned by Walter Voight.
In the warrant, Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley writes that police obtained copies from Alpine Bank of the 40 checks that were missing from Voight’s records. Each check was allegedly made payable to “Jerry Bennett.”
The total amount of the forged checks was $5,635.75.
The signatures on all but one were identical – Crowley writes that he held checks on top of each other and held them up to the light to compare the signatures. According to Crowley, there was no deviation in the signature from one to another. Only the 40th check had a different signature, according to the warrant.
A handwriting analyst with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told Crowley it would be “impossible” for a person to sign their name 39 times with identical signatures.
Voight told police he uses “Quick Books” for accounting software, a program that can be used to make computer-generated checks. According to Crowley’s report, it is possible to scan a signature into a computer and then print the signature onto a computer-generated check.
According to the warrant, Crowley spoke with Bennett about the alleged forgeries, and Bennett told him, “without admitting anything, it sounds like Walter wants his money back. What if he gets all of his money back?” Crowley told Bennett he could not make any promises about what would happen if Voight got the missing money back and said Voight does not want any contact with the suspect.
Crowley said Voight left Aspen shortly after the arrest warrant was issued. He is being held at the Madison County Jail with bond set at $10,000. Crowley said he will be extradited to Aspen to face forgery and theft charges.
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