CHRISTIANSTED — A man now sitting in prison is accused of forging a dozen checks for nearly $14,000 from a gas station in La Grande Princesse last year, authorities said.
Claudio Ponce, 56, of Golden Grove, was arrested at 11:29 a.m. today and charged with obtaining money by false pretense, grand larceny, and forgery. the Virgin Islands Police Department said.
On October 5, 2021, Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit received a complaint by Titan Service Station’s owners about stolen checks, according to the VIPD.
“The investigation revealed that Claudio Ponce unlawfully passed twelve stolen business checks totaling the amount of $13,750.00, which were written against the Farmmed Resources LLC and Ten Sleepless Knights Incorporation business accounts,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte.
The evidence showed that Ponce also forged the owners’ signatures on the checks, according to Dratte.
On July 7, 2022, at 11:29 a.m., Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit executed an arrest warrant at the John A. Bell Correctional Facility, where Claudio Ponce 55-years-old is being detained for an unrelated matter. Ponce was placed under arrest without incident.
Bail for Ponce was set at $20,000. Unable to post bail, he was returned to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights Hearing scheduled for tomorrow at the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.
People in St. Croix tended to take the news of Ponce’s arrest typically in stride.
“If he tries to make bail, don’t take a check (smiley emoji),” Christiansted attorney Bernard Pattie said in the private Facebook group St. Croix Sync Tank.
Titan Service Station is also known as Gas City.