MS, a 47 year old female immigrant from Haiti, received a Notice of a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing from Chelsea District Court. The Chelsea Police had applied for a criminal complaint against MS for two counts of Forgery (checks), two counts of Uttering, and two counts of Larceny By False Pretenses. All six counts are felonies and all of the charges could lead to deportation. MS had absolutely no idea what the charges were about.
MS consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately went to Chelsea Court and obtained copies of the Application for Criminal Complaint and the underlying police report. The police had received information from a bank investigator that an account holder at the bank had noticed a series of debits in her bank account for checks that she had not written. The checks were forged. Two of the forged checks had been made payable to MS and had been deposited in MS’s account at the bank.
The police applied for a criminal complaint against MS. It turns out that MS had in fact opened a joint bank account with her son, who was a minor at the time. Some months after opening the account, the two large checks made payable to MS were deposited into the account. The checks were in fact forgeries. Attorney Lewin contacted the bank investigator and asked for documentation showing that MS’s bank account was in fact a joint account. The bank investigator furnished the documentation to Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin also asked for the documentation showing how the account was opened. The Account opening documents show signature cards for both MS and her son and the initial deposit was a work check from MS’s son’s employment. The two large forged checks that were deposited were made out to MS; however, they were deposited remotely online so there was no surveillance photos or videos to show who made the deposit.
Attorney Lewin spoke at length with the Chelsea Police prosecutor and the investigator for the bank. Attorney Lewin pointed out that MS was an immigrant and any charge of a felony for forgery could lead to her deportation back to Haiti. In addition, Attorney Lewin pointed out that MS was a nurse and these crimes could lead to her losing her nursing license. Most importantly, Attorney Lewin pointed out that there was NO evidence that MS had committed any crime. She vehemently denied the crimes alleged against her. It was clear to anyone looking at the documents that MS’s son could have forged the checks and deposited them into the account. To conclude that it was MS who had forged the checks and deposited them into the account was sheer guesswork – not probable cause. On October 13, 2021 MS and Attorney Lewin appeared (via zoom) for the Clerk-Magistrate hearing in Chelsea Court. Attorney Lewin had furnished the Clerk-Magistrate with ail the documents to show that it could have equally been MS’s son who forged and deposited the checks. At the conclusion of the hearing the Clerk-Magistrate said that there is not probable cause to issue the complaint against MS and the police application was denied.
Attorney Lewin pointed out the following to MS:
- NO criminal complaint was issued against MS.
- MS was not charged with any crime.
- MS did not have to return to court and go before a Judge.
- MS’s criminal record would remain clean.
- NO entry would be made in the Criminal Offender Record Information system (CORI) under MS’s name.
- MS would NOT face any immigration consequences.
MS was extremely grateful to Attorney Lewin for believing in MS and for his persistent work in getting her the very best possible result.