Couple charged for fraud attempt at car dealership

By MARISSA DECHANT – Staff writer

A Bedford County couple are facing felony charges in connection with an alleged attempted fraud at the A. Crivelli Ford dealership in Reno in September 2016.

A criminal complaint filed through district judge Patrick Lowrey’s office said Karen Johnson, 61, and James Johnson, 62, both of Bedford, arrived at A. Crivelli to purchase a 2014 Ford Fiesta and a 2014 Ford Focus.

During the sales transaction, the Johnsons advised they were receiving a large sum of money from selling land in the Poconos Mountains, and they agreed to write a check for the total of $31,052.26, the complaint said.

The couple said the personal check would later be replaced by a cashier’s check, according to the complaint.

Karen Johnson called A. Crivelli a couple of weeks later to inquire about the cashier’s check, but the check hadn’t arrived, the complaint said.

A. Crivelli never received the cashier’s check and tried to cash the personal check in November 2016 only to find the account had been closed, the complaint said.

James Johnson was taken into custody Thursday in Mifflin County on unrelated charges, according to Sugarcreek Borough police. Karen Johnson later turned herself in on the fraud charges, said police.

Karen and James Johnson are both facing felony counts of conspiracy-theft by unlawful taking, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and retail theft.

James Johnson was arraigned before Lowrey, and bail was set at $50,000. He remains in the Mifflin County jail.

Karen Johnson was arraigned before district judge Matthew Kirtland and placed in the Venango County jail on $20,000 bail.

Preliminary hearings are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday in Central Court.