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Bigamist Sentenced to Three Years of Probation

February 8, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marc Furber, 215.348.6339, mjfurber@buckscounty.org

Having two wives turned into three years of probation for a Lehigh Valley man today in Bucks County Court.

By neglecting to divorce Wife No. 1 before marrying Wife No. 2 in 2012 – and phonying up a divorce decree in the process – Jason Griswold committed forgery, tampering with public records and bigamy. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 16 to all charges.

Griswold, 37, of Hellertown, was placed on three years of probation this morning by Bucks County Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. The judge also ordered Griswold to undergo a mental health evaluation and to comply with the resulting recommendations.

Bateman expressed amazement that Griswold, a machine operator in Allentown, thought he could get away with his ruse. The judge praised the work of Bucks County Detective Eric Landamia in documenting the deception.

Griswold explained that he believed his first wife would never grant him a divorce, and that his second wife would never have dated him if she believed he still was married. 

The second wife, who has a three-year-old child with Griswold, has obtained an annulment.

Griswold was separated from his first wife but was still married to her when he married his second wife in 2012 in Washington Crossing. In order to obtain a marriage license from the Bucks County Clerk of Orphans Court, Griswold presented a document purporting to be a divorce decree ending his first marriage.

The document, dated Nov. 21, 2008, bore the signature of a New Jersey Superior Court judge.

Meanwhile, Griswold found other ways to lie his way into the second marriage. At one point he concocted phony documents showing that he had sold a home owned during his first marriage and had deposited the proceeds, $260,000, into a financial account. In fact, he had done neither.

The deception began to unravel in December 2013, when Griswold’s second wife opened a letter sent to Griswold by his first wife’s divorce lawyer. The lawyer wanted to know how Griswold had managed to remarry, since his first marriage had not legally ended yet. When confronted by his second wife, Griswold told her the letter must have been a mistake.

In November 2014, a second letter arrived from the same lawyer, and again was viewed by Griswold’s second wife. This letter indicated that Griswold’s divorce from his first wife had just been granted on Oct. 28, 2014.

A lawyer representing the second wife contacted police, who began a criminal investigation.

The investigation found, among other things, that Griswold’s fake divorce decree misspelled the word “judgment,”  contained a docket number in a format not used by the New Jersey Superior Court, and contained a forged signature for the New Jersey Superior Court judge who supposedly had signed it.

“By creating and filing a fraudulent divorce decree, the defendant’s actions had the dangerous potential to undermine public confidence in our judicial system,” said Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber, who prosecuted the case. “The Court’s sentence will serve to protect the public from future violations by this defendant.

“This should also be a warning to those who might contemplate similar actions,” Furber added. “This type of behavior will result in swift prosecution and punishment.”

Approved for release by Michele Kelly Walsh, Deputy District Attorney.


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