A Lenawee County sheriff's deputy was arraigned yesterday in Washtenaw District Court in Ypsilanti, Mich., on six felony charges related to creating and passing bad checks.
Timothy Holtz, 47, of Adrian, a 26-year sheriff's department veteran, plead not guilty to two counts of forgery, two counts of uttering and publishing, and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
Mr. Holtz allegedly bought a vacuum sweeper and propane gas tank valued at about $700 last year in Ypsilanti with a pair of checks he created in his home computer, authorities said.
Mr. Holtz was suspended without pay on Jan. 21 by Sheriff Larry Richardson after the sheriff learned about the Washtenaw County investigation. At that point, Mr. Holtz had been on medical leave since November, 2003, for an injured shoulder, Mr. Richardson said.
The sheriff said he was surprised about the charges against Mr. Holtz. "I would describe him as a good officer," he said.
Should Mr. Holtz be found guilty, Mr. Richardson said the damage to the department will be severe.
"It will hurt," he said. "It will give law enforcement in this community a bad name and [destroy] some of the trust we have gained over the years."
As for Mr. Holtz, "It will wreck everything he has done for all these years. There is no excuse for it, and we can't tolerate it. We can't misuse the public trust. We are paid to uphold the law," the sheriff said.
Sheriff Richardson said Michigan State Police detectives are continuing their investigation to determine if other bogus checks were cashed by Mr. Holtz.
After his arraignment, Mr. Holtz was released on a personal recognizance bond of $10,000, court officials said. His next court appointment is set for March 24.
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