NEWBURYPORT — Video games, an XBox console and a large television set were among the items a Haverhill man purchased using money he and his accomplice scammed out of The Provident Bank when they cashed several bad checks late last year, according to court records.
Bryan McWorter, 23, and Ashley Thomas, 22, of Atkinson, N.H., admitted their part in a fraud that saw them net more than $32,000 in a little more than a week with the help of Joshua Thomas of Haverhill.
Monday, in Newburyport District Court, McWorter and Ashley Thomas, who, according to court records, married Joshua Thomas last December, admitted to sufficient facts related to five larceny over $250 charges.
As part of their plea deals, the cases against them were continued without finding for three years. As long as they pay back a yet-to-be-determined restitution to The Provident Bank and stay out of trouble, the larceny charges against them will be dismissed.
Joshua Thomas, who also faces multiple charges of larceny over $250, is due in court on Oct. 16 for a pretrial hearing. On the same day, McWorter and Ashley Thomas will also be in court for a restitution hearing.
During her summation of the facts, Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte explained how McWorter established a checking account at The Provident Bank in December 2013 and then began depositing valueless checks authorized by Joshua Thomas. The next day, McWorter would withdraw thousands of dollars, knowing that the bank would initially honor the withdrawals.
According to court records, McWorter and Ashley Thomas wrote nine checks totaling $32,146 that were returned to the bank due to insufficient funds. The checks were written on the account of Joshua Thomas, who had established a checking account at the Santander Bank. A breakdown of the checks showed that Ashley Thomas cashed four of them between Dec. 17 and Dec. 20, totaling $11,835, while McWorter cashed five checks between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2, 2014, totaling $20,361.
Belmonte said that when asked by police what they did with their shares of the money, McWorter said: “Do what we do, spend money.”
The scam caught the attention of a Provident Bank official who became concerned and alerted Amesbury police. When confronted by Detective Sean Leary in late January, McWorter admitted being involved and added he was being helped by Joshua and Ashley Thomas.
According to Leary’s report, Joshua Thomas opened the account at a Santander Bank in Methuen and had the checks mailed to the Haverhill address McWorter shared with his parents. Joshua Thomas then instructed McWorter and Ashley Thomas to open checking accounts at The Provident Bank in Amesbury and Portsmouth, N.H., respectively.