Woman accused of making $1,500 worth of unauthorized purchases

An Oil City woman is facing numerous charges for making a number of unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals totaling more than $1,500 by using a debit card and checking account information that didn’t belong to her.

Franklin state police said in a criminal complaint that in October 2019, two women told troopers that unauthorized charges and cash withdrawals had been made to a debit card belonging to one of the women.

One of the women said she believed her sister, Hope Ostroske, 45, had taken the debit card, which belonged to their mother, used it and gave it back without their mother knowing she took it in August and October 2019, the complaint said.

Ostroske’s mother told police she had her debit card the night before talking to police but couldn’t find it that day and that three or four transactions were charged to her account that she did not make, the complaint said.

She added that Ostroske didn’t have any money and didn’t have permission to use her vehicle, according to the complaint.

State police obtained security footage showing Ostroske using her mother’s vehicle, entering two businesses and making purchases, the complaint said. The footage corresponded with the unauthorized transactions that showed up on the woman’s bank statements, according to the complaint.

The purchases totaled about $900, the complaint said.

On Dec. 31, 2020, Ostroske’s mother and sister came to the state police barracks for a second time after finding that 15 fraudulent purchases were made during November and December using a checking account they share, the complaint said.

Ostroske’s mother told police she had provided Ostroske with her banking information in the past so her daughter’s electricity didn’t get turned off, but she had told Ostroske it was a one time thing, the complaint said.

When police interviewed Ostroske in January, she admitted to police she had taken and used her mother’s debit card in the past, the complaint said.

Ostroske told police she had accidentally used her mother’s checking account information to make the 15 purchases totaling about $1,500 between Nov. 13 and Dec. 16, according to the complaint. When police asked if she had paid the money back after finding out she had used her mother’s account she told them she didn’t have the money to repay her, the complaint said.

Her mother told police she hadn’t given Ostroske permission to store her banking information on any device or use her account, the complaint said.

Ostroske has been charged with 21 misdemeanor counts of identity theft, 13 misdemeanor counts of access device issued to another who did not authorize use, as well as misdemeanor counts of theft by deception-false impression, unauthorized use of motor/other vehicle, theft by unlawful taking-movable property and receiving stolen property.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled March 24 in Venango County Central Court.