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Serial Crook's Bad-Check Habit Earns 3.5 to 7 Years in Prison

February 4, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jovin Jose, 215.348.6589, jjose@buckscounty.org

A Trevose man whose criminal history covers more than half of his life was sentenced this week to serve three and one-half to seven years in state prison for writing more than 40 bad checks to 26 victims from October 2015 through June 2016.

Kristopher Schwartz, 39, whose history of theft, drug and forgery convictions dates to 1996, continued to write insufficient funds checks even after his initial arrest in April for the same behavior, Assistant District Attorney Jovin Jose said.

“It is clear the defendant was not rehabilitated by his prior sentences,” Jose told Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. on Monday. “Particularly egregious was that the defendant was out on bail” when he decided to continue writing the checks from the same overdrawn account, Jose said.

Schwartz, a handyman who said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, wrote most of the checks for building and painting supplies. He told Bateman that he had been sober and working for a year, but that he began to drink again when his jobs tailed off and he no longer could afford his medications.

He said he had hoped to find enough work to cover the checks in short order, but was not able to do so.

Schwartz pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception, bad checks and access device fraud in crimes that occurred in Bensalem, Falls, Lower Southampton, Middletown and Upper Southampton Townships.

According to Jose, Schwartz had opened a checking account in late 2015 with a $50 deposit, quickly withdrew $40 cash, and proceeded to write 23 checks that he knew would not clear. After being arrested in April 2016 and admitting to those crimes, Jose said, Schwartz made bail and began writing bad checks anew.

Bateman, calling it “particularly troubling” that Schwartz continued to offend while awaiting trial, said the defendant had shown a pattern of similar crimes over the past two decades.

In addition to the prison time, Bateman placed Schwartz on 20 years of probation and ordered him to pay restitution of $49,538.90.

Approved for release by Gregg Shore, Chief of Staff.

Kristopher Schwartz

Kristopher Schwartz

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