Woman arrested for cashing more than $10,000 in forged, unauthorized checks

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By Jennifer Corbett

A Bardstown woman will appear in court next week on charges that she allegedly cashed more than $10,000 worth of forged and blank checks to herself with her former employer’s signature.

Ginger Ritchie Nichols, 46, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Nelson County district court on one count of theft by unlawful taking $10,000 or more, but under $1 million, a class C felony. If convicted, Nichols could be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.

Nichols is accused of writing the checks to herself from the account of Harned Auctioneers while she was employed as an executive assistant and real estate agent.

Bardstown Police Detective Lynn Davis said Nichols wrote at least 15 checks, some she forged using the signature of Billy Frank Harned, owner of Harned Auctioneers. The other checks she reportedly cashed to herself were blank checks Harned gave her for business purposes.

According to Davis, Harned became aware of Nichols’ alleged actions after an internal audit was conducted at the business.

Harned told police his signature was forged on checks that total more than $10,000.

The checks were reportedly written from 2010 to 2013 and the checks were characterized as other expenditures, such as advertising, to throw off Harned, Davis said.

She was arrested March 5 and was later released on a $200,000 surety bond — a promise one party agrees to pay a second party if they fail to meet a certain obligation.

Police are investigating other alleged unauthorized and forged checks Nichols wrote to herself and Davis said more charges could be pending.

Davis added that Nichols is no longer employed at Harned Auctioneers.