Woodstock man pleads guilty to forgery, identity theft charges

WOODSTOCK -- A local man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to multiple forgery and identity theft charges after he cashed several stolen checks in August 2016.

WOODSTOCK — A local man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to multiple forgery and identity theft charges stemming from several stolen checks he cashed in August 2016.

Adam McGowan, 32, forged the signature on several stolen checks, and wrote them out to himself before taking them to a bank to be cashed for varying amounts, Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley said on Wednesday. McGowan was working for the victim in this case by doing manual labor in exchange for a place to live, Wiseley added, and McGowan admitted to stealing the checks from the victim’s truck. McGowan, who was also identified on the bank’s surveillance video, took over $2,200 from the victim’s account with the forged checks.

McGowan pleaded guilty to four counts of forgery and four counts of identity theft as part of a plea agreement, which also called for eight other fraud-related charges to be dismissed. There were also four unrelated drug distribution charges against McGowan that were dismissed as part of the agreement, and Wiseley noted that the prosecution had evidentiary issues in that case that would make it difficult to proceed. McGowan has a long history of larceny-related charges, including six forgery charges from alleged June offenses that were dismissed after a November preliminary hearing in Shenandoah County General District Court.

The agreement called for McGowan to be evaluated for the Community Corrections Alternative Program, which aims to help reform non-violent offenders who need more than probation but less than incarceration, the Virginia Department of Corrections states on its website. A hearing has been set for Jan. 10 in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to see the outcome of that evaluation and determine appropriate sentencing.