Wanting to Forge a Check, He Tried and Tried Again

Police say that Randall Taylor Rivera stole money from the bank account of a deceased Montauk woman. He was arraigned on Tuesday on eight felony charges. T.E. McMorrow

An Amagansett man, Randall Taylor Rivera, 27,  was arrested after allegedly cashing a forged check on Monday that had belonged to a deceased Montauk woman, and charged with seven felonies, including burglary, attempted grand larceny, and possession of a forged financial instrument. A separate felony charge, for grand larceny, alleges that Mr. Rivera, while working as a bartender at La Fine Restaurant at the Montauk Manor, stole over $5,000 from the cash register late last month. He also was charged with three misdemeanors alleging possession of stolen property. 

According to East Hampton Town police,  Mr. Rivera entered a house on Benson Drive in Ditch Plain, Montauk, on Monday morning and stole three blank People’s Bank checks from the account of Lydia Shaternik, which had been set up by her daughters. Mr. Rivera was familiar with the house, police said, since he had been a guest there of a tenant, Jessica Stainback. Police said he borrowed her car that morning, telling her he had to run a few errands, and then entered the Benson Drive residence through an unlocked door. Taking three checks from an envelope, police said, he drove to the People’s Bank on Pantigo Road in East Hampton and tried to cash a check forged in the amount of $3,250. The amount in script did not match the numerical amount, and a teller refused to cash it. 

Mr. Rivera told police, after waiving his Miranda rights on Monday, that he got back into the car and parked across the street from the bank, ripping up the first check and making out a second to himself for the same amount. Twenty minutes later, he said, he went back to the bank and it was cashed. He told police he then drove back to Montauk, going to the Shagwong Tavern, where he works occasionally as a bouncer, and later in the day drove back to East Hampton to try to cash the third check. In the meantime, however, a bank employee was suspicious and had called the deceased woman’s daughter, also Lydia Shaternik of Montauk, who went to the bank, was shown the cashed check, and said it was a forgery.

Mr. Rivera returned to the bank shortly before closing time and presented the third, final check, which he allegedly forged in the amount of $4,750, to a teller. “She took the check and told me there was a problem with it,” Mr. Rivera told police. He said that he tried to set up an alibi, texting Ms. Stainback, but he was soon under arrest.

He was arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Tuesday afternoon. It is the second time he has been arrested and arraigned in East Hampton since he moved to the White Sands Motel in late August. That arraignment, in September, was on a charge of drunken driving. Questioned by detectives at that time, it was learned there had been several incidents in Rhode Island, but no additional charges were brought. He was released after being arraigned on bail.

During his arraignment Tuesday, Justice Lisa R. Rana pressed Mr. Rivera about his apparent record in Rhode Island, having to do with charges of forgery from August, before he moved to the East End. “My understanding was, the case was dismissed,” Mr. Rivera said. “Officers told you they were dismissed?” she asked. “Yes,” he said.

A Legal Aid Society attorney, Matt D’Amato, tried to make a case for low bail, questioning the Miranda rights issue. But bail was set at $20,000 and he was taken to county jail. The case is likely to be presented to a grand jury sometime today.