By Angeljean Chiaramida
---- — NEWBURYPORT — A Salisbury woman will spend the next three years on probation after reaching a plea agreement on 72 counts of forging and issuing thousands of dollars in checks from her boyfriend’s account.
Ashley Collins, 28, of 1 Caroline Drive, Salisbury, pleaded to sufficient facts Friday before Newburyport District Court Judge Peter Doyle on 36 counts each of forging her boyfriend’s name on his checks and then uttering, or cashing, the checks.
The charges were continued without a finding and probation ordered until Jan. 25, 2016. Under the conditions imposed, Collins must remain drug and alcohol free, submit to random screenings, enter and complete a structured outpatient addiction program, comply with recommended aftercare and continue current counseling.
The court also ordered Collins to pay restitution for forging and cashing the checks. A hearing is scheduled for March 5 to determine the amount Collins will repay and a possible schedule for repayment. The amount could be more than $6,000, according to Salisbury police Detective Steve Sforza’s report included in court documents.
Sforza’s report states he began investigating the case on Nov. 23, when he interviewed a witness who alleged she had seen Collins “sign her boyfriend’s name to his check #1184, and try to get her to cash it in the amount of $200.”
The witness said Collins also made a “fake” attempt to call her boyfriend in order to persuade the witness that he had given his permission for her to issue the check. The witness said she didn’t believe the claim and opted to give the uncashed check back to the victim.
The witness also told police she was aware Collins had a drug addiction problem.
Upon interviewing the boyfriend, Sforza learned he had told Collins that she didn’t have permission to forge his name and cash his checks.
On Nov. 27, the boyfriend told Sforza he closed the account on which the checks were drawn, but learned from the bank that Collins had written 37 checks from the account, amounting to $6,365.