A 34-year-old Longview man entered pleadings of not guilty to forgery, theft of a motor vehicle, and first-degree driving with a suspended license Friday in Jefferson County Superior …
A 34-year-old Longview man entered pleadings of not guilty to forgery, theft of a motor vehicle, and first-degree driving with a suspended license Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court.
Prosecutors allege Matthew Thanh Nguyen forged a check to buy a 2013 Ram 1500 pickup from a Port Hadlock man who had listed the truck for sale online.
When Nguyen met with the man selling the truck, the truck owner told authorities Nguyen gave him a check for $28,000 — which was $1,000 less than the amount Nguyen had earlier agreed to pay.
The alleged theft victim said he confronted Nguyen about the discrepancy, and Nguyen agreed to pay an additional $400 on the spot and come back with another $600 three days later when he would be back in town “to finish a job.”
The truck owner agreed, and Nguyen drove away in the pickup. The Port Ludlow man then deposited the check for $28,000 at his credit union.
The check itself was “well worn,” according to court documents, and the previous owner of the Ram said the credit union refused to honor the check because it was fraudulent and had been altered.
The man tried to contact Nguyen about the check but the call went straight to voicemail.
A sheriff’s deputy contacted the credit union and a financial crimes investigator told him: “Everything about this check is wrong. The date is in one font style, the amount to be paid in another, the name to be paid to is in another, the headquarters address for Wells Fargo is wrong, and the person paying the amount (the remitter) isn’t the right name.”
A sheriff’s report noted other erroneous features, and added that a more detailed report on the forged check had been done by the financial crimes investigator.
During a hearing Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft said Nguyen had a criminal history that stretched across four western states, with 27 convictions in Washington. His history also included offenses in Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada.
Nguyen also had 42 warrants for his arrest in Washington, Ashcraft said.
“It appears he just wanders the western United States — minus California — committing crimes,” Ashcraft said.
Richard Davies, Nguyen’s attorney, asked Judge Keith Harper to strike bail so Nguyen could return to Cowlitz County to face charges there as a fugitive from justice, with the hope that a global resolution could be reached on his client’s legal troubles.
Harper, however, said Nguyen’s prior record was “remarkable” and added he was a high risk not to return to court.
The judge kept bail at $20,000.
A trial date was set for Aug. 29.
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