Baltimore woman charged in Shenandoah County fraud case

Therese Denise Epps

WOODSTOCK — A Baltimore woman is facing a long list of fraud-related charges after she allegedly forged three checks to herself from the Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in November 2010.

Therese Denise Epps, 35, was charged on Nov. 1 with 12 charges stemming from Nov. 11 and 16, 2010 when she allegedly went to First Bank branches in Strasburg, Woodstock and Mount Jackson and at each bank presented a computer-generated check for a varying amount just over $1,800 each, the criminal complaints state.

The checks were drawn on an account with the Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and signed by “David Ellinger, Treasurer,” the complaints state. Epps was  given cash after making the deposits, and an investigation showed that the check was fraudulent, the complaints state.

Epps pleaded guilty in May 2013 in Frederick County to fraud and forgery charges involving the same circumstances from Nov. 10, 2010, and was sentenced to serve one year of a seven-year sentence. She was released before Winchester could arrest her on the fraud charge against her from Nov. 18, 2010 in the city, and Epps was not arrested again until August 2017. She pleaded guilty on Oct. 20 and was given a two-year suspended sentence and is required to pay just over $1,800 in restitution. Epps now faces the 12 Shenandoah County charges.

Sgt. Robert Poe with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office said that investigators are unsure of how Epps retrieved the information to create the fraudulent checks because the original investigator, Lt. Tom Shelton, is no longer with the office. A criminal complaint mentions that a mailbox had been broken into, but Poe could not confirm that information.

The next hearing in this case is set for Nov. 17 in Shenandoah County General District Court. Epps is being held without bond at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.