2 Accused of Forging Checks for $114,503

Times Staff Writer

A San Fernando woman and her daughter, who police said operated a boarding house for indigents, have been charged with forging $114,503 worth of checks.

A preliminary hearing to determine if Helen Oweadi Thomas, 54, and her daughter, Marie Antoinette Thomas, 38, will stand trial continued Monday in San Fernando Municipal Court.

Each is charged with six counts of forgery, two counts of grand theft and one count of falsifying a California driver's license.

The women were arrested June 11 after a Los Angeles Police Department investigation into a series of check forgeries during the first nine months of 1986, said Detective Larry Barnard.

Six Checks Stolen

Barnard said at least six checks were stolen from three Los Angeles County businesses.

In some cases, the checks were made out to Middleton House Inc., the boarding house at 11808 Fellows Ave. operated by the pair, Barnard said. In other cases, the checks were made out to the women, he said.

In one instance, identification cards stolen from a woman who left her wallet at an automatic teller machine were used to set up a dummy corporation, Barnard said.

A $47,473 stolen check was deposited in the account of the dummy corporation, Gordon Enterprises & Co-op Communications, Barnard said.

False driver's licenses were used by the women in unsuccessful attempts to cash a check for some of that amount, authorities said.

The woman who had lost her wallet at the automatic teller machine called police when she began receiving letters welcoming her to the San Fernando business community, Barnard said.

"We're not dealing with just your average opportunist here," he said. "We're dealing with sophistication."

Grand Theft

The grand theft charges against the Thomases stem from the theft of about $40,000 from Bank of America, authorities said. The bank had to repay a company whose checks were used in four of the forgeries, according to authorities.

The women's accounts in several banks have been frozen to prevent them from withdrawing more money, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Leland B. Harris.

The preliminary hearing began Dec. 18, but was postponed because Helen Thomas was ill, Harris said. Her attorney, Carl E. Douglas, declined to comment on the nature of her illness.

She and her daughter are free on $65,000 bail each.

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