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Hopkinton woman charged with writing $25,000 worth of checks released from jail

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MASSENA - A Hopkinton woman charged for her role in cashing approximately $25,000 worth of fraudulent checks on her boyfriend’s father’s business account was released from jail and placed under the supervision of the probation department.

The release had been recommended by the St. Lawrence County Probation Department and resulted in the postponement of a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday before Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow.

Massena-based state police had charged Dean M. Lamphere, 42, and Danielle C. LaPage, 32, both of 2914 state Route 11B, Nicholville, on Saturday afternoon with multiple counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument stemming from an investigation into a complaint launched on June 9. The couple reportedly issued checks on an account with insufficient funds in the towns of Hopkinton and Lawrence and the village of Massena.

Troopers said one check was cashed at the North Lawrence IGA, three were cashed at the Twin Pines gas station in Nicholville and the remainder were passed in the village of Massena. Others were cashed in Franklin County.

Lamphere was charged with four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and released under the supervision of the probation department.

LaPage was charged with 12 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. She had been held at the county correctional facility since being arraigned by Judge Sharlow on Saturday.

LaPage, in a statement she provided to police on June 20, said her boyfriend, Mr. Lamphere, had worked for his father, Dean Lamphere Sr., at Lamphere’s Trucking and General Repair for the past nine years. She said her boyfriend had quit working for his father when he learned his father was allegedly running an illicit operation out of the garage. “...when Deano found out he couldn’t look at his father anymore and quit working for him,” she said.

State police had charged Dean M. Lamphere Sr., 60, of 2928C Route 11B, Hopkinton, with felony counts of third-degree promotion of prostitution and tampering with physical evidence June 17.

Troopers said their investigation is continuing and additional charges may be pending.

Court documents allege the elder Lamphere paid and arranged for prostitutes to engage in sexual conduct with men between 2011 and May 2013. The women ranged in ages from 20 to 32. He also allegedly destroyed two videotapes that contained evidence supporting a promoting prostitution investigation. Troopers alleged the elder Mr. Lamphere burned those videos in a fire pit behind his garage.

“After Deano quit working, money got real tight because I have cancer and am not working, and we have three kids living at our house,” she said.

LaPage alleged the elder Mr. Lamphere had provided the couple with thousands of dollars in hush money in an effort to convince them not to cooperate with the police investigation into activities that had taken place at the garage in Hopkinton.

“ ...Dean Sr. came over to our place and gave us $15,000 cash, and he also gave Deano a SeaComm checkbook to keep our mouths closed,” she suggested in her statement to police, noting the money exchange took place on the same day she had called state police investigators from the elder Mr. Lamphere’s garage and told them she did not plan to cooperate with their investigation.

“I called from the garage that day so Dean Sr. could hear me say it. The next day Dean Sr. had his wife put almost $19,000 back into the account because he thought ... he was scott free,” she added.

But she said the incidents that ultimately led to the elder Mr. Lamphere’s arrest on the prostitution charges continued to trouble her and her boyfriend, and a few weeks later she decided to provide state police with information that assisted them in their investigation of her boyfriend’s father.

She said her boyfriend cashed the first check on the business account on May 28, when the couple and their children went to stay at the Quality Inn in Massena for a few days. She said her boyfriend cashed that first check for $5,000 at SeaComm and later filled out several other checks that were either cashed by the younger Lamphere, LaPage and other friends and relatives that they asked to cash the checks for them.

“None of these other people knew that these checks were possibly illegal. They would just cash them and give Deano or myself the money. Deano was the one who filled out all the checks and the signed the name Dean Lamphere on them, which is Deano’s name too,” she pointed out in her statement.

“We knew we were entitled to this money because Dean Sr. had said he had given it to us and freely gave us the checkbook,” LaPage added in her statement.

The younger Lamphere said his girlfriend had previously done computer and bookkeeping work for his father’s business and said she had come home from the garage one day in late May with some business checks from Lamphere Trucking and General Repair. He admitted he and LaPage had gone to SeaComm on May 28 and cashed one of the checks. “Danielle filled out the check and made it out to me. I signed the back and cashed it,” he told troopers.

The elder Mr. Lamphere denied LaPage’s allegations in the statement he provided to state troopers. He said he first learned there were problems with his SeaComm account on June 12 when he received a letter from the credit union informing him he had bounced three checks. “I went and checked my checkbook and noticed that 30 checks were missing from my checkbook,” he told police.

He said he then went to SeaComm and reviewed a printout of his account showing several checks totaling $25,270. “At no time did I give anybody permission to take these checks from me. I also did not give anybody permission to take these checks from me. I also did not give anybody permission to sign these checks in my name,” he stressed in his statement to police.

He said his review of the account, for example, showed fraudulent checks that had been written on his account to his son for $5,000 on May 28 and $2,000 on May 31. He also said he noticed similar checks written to LaPage for $2,400 on June 3, $3,000 on June 4 and $7,400 on June 10. He said several other checks were written to cash and a $700 check dated June 13 was made out to his grandson.

“I have never written these checks in these amounts to these people. I want the people responsible for this arrested for stealing my checks and then forging them and taking my money,” he said.

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