Check Forgery Is Alleged

An East Hampton woman was arrested on Tuesday in connection with a March incident involving attempted forgery.

Police said Jennifer Russo, 35, had tried to forge another woman’s signature on two checks and deposit them in her own account, and charged her with a total of five misdemeanors: attempted grand larceny, attempted petty larceny, illegal possession of identification, and two counts of forgery.

At her arraignment that afternoon, Ms. Russo told East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky that she had been working at the time as a dog walker for the alleged victim, Denise Gale of Sheepfold Lane, Springs. Brian Francese, a Legal Aid Society lawyer, entered not-guilty pleas on her behalf.

According to East Hampton Town detectives, Ms. Russo took two checks belonging to Ms. Gale and attempted to transfer money electronically, using the check numbers, into her own account. The attempts were apparently unsuccessful.

“I took the checks and forged Denise’s signature, because I was on hard times,” she reportedly told the detective who questioned her on July 20. “I only took what I needed. The $1,500 was for my rent, and the $500 was for gas and food.”

Ms. Russo cried throughout her arraignment and was handed tissues by a court officer. Justice Tekulsky asked her where she worked. She replied that she has been working for the past four months as an assistant at a local insurance brokerage. Justice Tekulsky asked if she thought she would still have her job, given her arrest. “I don’t know,” she answered.

She was freed without bail.