Exeter man charged in forgery, exploitation case

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

59-year-old allegedly forged amount on check for $42,050

An Exeter man is being held in the Barry County jail after allegedly forging a check for $42,050 and exploiting a disabled person.

Johnny Berry, 59, of Exeter, is being held on a combination of two bonds, totaling $35,000, on charges of forgery and financial exploitation of a disabled person, as well as theft.

According to a probable cause report filed by Angela Cole, Barry County Sheriff's deputy, on April 15, the victim reported Berry had asked him for $42.50 to pay off a loan, and the victim signed a check but left the amount blank for Berry.

According to the victim's daughter, who has durable power of attorney over her parents' finances, the victim is illiterate, and the victim's wife is blind.

Berry allegedly took advantage of the victim by making him believe the check was only for $42.50, when Berry actually took the blank check to Clines Equipment Company and bought a tractor, drill implement and a rifle totaling $42,050.

"Johnny filled in the amount on [the victim's] check of $42,050 without [the victim, his wife's or his daughter's knowledge]," Cole said in the statement.

Berry is also being held on a theft charge stemming from a March 30 incident at Davidian Seven Day Adventist Church.

Berry allegedly took a 1988 Ford 1210 tractor valued at $5,500, a tether implement valued at $2,000, a blade implement valued at $1,000, and a field digger implement value at $3,500. The president of the Davidian Association said Berry had no right to take the items, according to a probable cause report filed by Barry County Deputy Justin Ruark.

For the forgery and exploitation charges, Berry is being held on a $20,000, cash-only bond. A separate $15,000 bond is filed for the theft charge. He has a disposition hearing scheduled for Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in the courtroom of Judge Robert Foulke.

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