Franklin County court

Franklin County Superior Court in St. Albans City.

ST. ALBANS CITY — A St. Albans woman accused of forging checks and defrauding a senior citizen has pleaded not guilty.

In Franklin County Superior Court on Tuesday, 33-year-old Ashley Hamlin — who said she recently got married and goes by the last name Tatro — pleaded not guilty to three counts of forgery. Each charge carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

Hamlin is also facing charges in a separate case in which she and other co-conspirators allegedly defrauded an elderly man out of $120,000. She is facing a single count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult in that case.

According to an affidavit by St. Albans Police Cpl. Zachary Koch, 66-year-old James Pyer visited the police station on Feb. 25 to report that 18 checks had been forged and four individuals had cashed checks from his account without permission. Hamlin was one of the names on the list.

In all, $1,480 was taken from Pyer's account.

Pyer told police he was notified of the stolen checks by his bank. He said he had allowed Hamlin into his residence before, as he was friends with her brother, according to the affidavit.

In subsequent interviews with police in March, two of the other individuals who had cashed checks said Hamlin had asked them to cash checks for her because of a lack of identification. One of the individuals said Hamlin told him she got the check from working, while the other "thought it was sketchy," and called Hamlin's brother after cashing the check to tell him what happened, according to the affidavit.

The third person said Hamlin wrote out a check to pay a debt, but couldn’t remember if she or Hamlin cashed the check, according to the affidavit.

Hamlin was released on conditions including that she not have contact with Pyer.

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