Jury: Man not guilty of forgery

Published 12:04am Friday, October 26, 2012

An Andalusia man was found not guilty Wednesday in a 2009 forged instrument case.

Lonnie E. Bush, who was formerly from the Red Level area, was charged with possession of a forged instrument and attempted theft of property I after being indicted by a grand jury some three years ago, said his attorney Chris Sledge.

“It was a strange set of circumstances,” Sledge said of Bush’s arrest. “Mr. Bush was working as a ‘middle man’ for an overseas Internet-based company, who claimed they were having trouble cashing checks in America. Remember this was 2009, so Internet scams were first getting started.

“The company sent him a check for $48,610 with instructions to deposit into his checking account, keep 10 percent and send the rest to them,” he said. “Instead of doing that Mr. Bush took the check to Indian Joe’s in Opp and attempted to cash it.”

Sledge said it was at this point that the case took a strange turn.

He said Bush attempted to cash at Indian Joes in Opp. He said Bush had done business with the store many times in the past and understood their check cashing policy, which required verification of funds before cashing the check.

“(Bush) was leery that the check was ‘no good,’ and instead of depositing it, he went to Indian Joe’s,” Sledge said.  “The check didn’t ‘check out,’ so it wasn’t cashed. (Bush) left it at Indian Joes, who called the Opp Police Department.”

Sledge said the state contended that since Bush attempted to cash the check, he “basically attempted to deprive Mr. Joe Moulton of $48,000.”

Sledge said Bush defended the charges, claiming that he had no knowledge the check was forged, and he wasn’t trying to defraud or steal from Indian Joe’s.

“Thankfully, the jury agreed and cleared Mr. Bush on both counts,” he said.


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