St. Croix woman arrested in connection with forged check after evading police for 5 years


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ST. CROIX - A Christiansted woman who evaded police for almost five years was arrested as she tried to leave the territory on Wednesday.

Jasmin Rivera, 26, of Estate Richmond appeared before Magistrate Miguel Camacho on Thursday morning and was advised of her rights on charges of identity theft, obtaining money under false pretense and forgery.

Camacho advised her that if she is tried and convicted of the charges, she could be imprisoned for up to 10 years on each of the forgery and obtaining money under false pretense charges and up to an additional one year in prison on the identity theft charge.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in court by V.I. Police Detective Mark Corneiro, Rivera was working at a Christiansted restaurant during 2008 and 2009 when she took a check from the business checkbook and wrote a check payable to herself.

The court document states that Rivera stole the check some time in December of 2009 and wrote it out in the amount of $900 and took it to a small grocery store near her home at the time, but the clerks there did not allow her to cash it. Some time later, she went to a larger supermarket and was able to cash the check that she had written and kept the money for her personal gain, according to the affidavit.

Corneiro said during an investigation launched some time after the theft, clerks at the bank said they later confirmed that the signature on the check had been forged because the owner of the restaurant was the only signatory on the account, and the signature that was on the check was not hers and appeared to have been traced.

Police said they had been looking for Rivera since that time and issued a warrant for her arrest, but they were unable to find her. Her name was entered into the National Criminal Information Center database, and when she attempted to leave the territory, an alert was activated and she was arrested.

Camacho set Rivera's bail at $35,000 and allowed her to be released from prison to a third-party custodian after they both signed an unsecured bond in the amount of the bail.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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