Mark Pignatello Credit: Penobscot County Sheriff's Office

A New York man was arrested Wednesday in Newport after he tried to cash a phony check for $3,000 at a local bank, according to police Chief Leonard Macdaid.

Mark Pignatello, 54, of Yonkers was charged with fraud, forgery and misuse of identification, the Newport chief said Thursday.

He is suspected of being part of a ring that steals mail from residential mailboxes and uses information to create fake identifications, Macdaid said. Pignatello and others have successfully cashed checks for thousands of dollars in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, he said.

Macdaid urged the people to monitor their mail and bank statements in case Pignatello’s possible accomplices are still in Maine.

Pignatello was arrested about 2:30 p.m. at the People’s United Bank after he allegedly tried to cash a check at the Newport branch. He was able to cash a phony check earlier this week in Orono but was turned away at the Bangor branch before traveling to Newport, according to Macdaid.

Federal agencies and the bank’s fraud division also are involved in the investigation, the police chief said. If investigators conclude Pignatello was involved in a multi-state crime ring, he could face additional charges in federal court.

Pignatello remained Thursday morning at the Penobscot County Jail, according to its online inmate list. He is expected to make his first court appearance Friday by video conference at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

If convicted of the most serious state charges of Class C fraud and forgery, Pignatello would face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 and could be ordered to pay restitution.

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