DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The man police allege was behind the forgery of more than $14,000 in checks stolen in 2008 from an active-duty U.S. Army soldier pleaded not guilty to aggravated forgery Monday in Dover-Foxcroft District Court.
Bernie-James V. D’Augostine, 21, of Sangerville, who was indicted by the Piscataquis County grand jury last month, was arrested on Jan. 27.
District Court Judge Kevin Stitham on Monday appointed Rick Hartley of Bangor as D’Augostine’s court-appointed attorney. D’Augostine’s bail remains at $500 cash.
Shawn Burke, 24, was visiting relatives while on leave after a 15-month deployment in Iraq when he uncovered the theft. He wrote a check for online courses at Husson College and the check failed to clear, prompting him to inquire about his Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union account. He later learned that a box of his checks had been stolen and his account had been nearly drained.
Three people — Duane Hyde, 37, of Guilford, Robert Brammer, 39, of Dover-Foxcroft and Ashley Gamblin, 20, of Cambridge — pleaded guilty last year to the forgery and were sentenced. The three are expected to testify in D’Augostine’s trial.
District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said in the courtroom during Gamblin’s sentencing last year that evidence in the case would show that D’Augostine used Gamblin, Hyde and Brammer to do his dirty work.
All profited to some extent, Almy said, but D’Augostine manipulated them.