Counterfeiter pleads guilty

A Castleton man charged with producing counterfeit bills pleaded guilty to all charges in Rappahannock County Circuit Court on Oct. 4. Paul Owen Fincham, 28, faced eight felony counts of forging bank notes with a personal printer after Capt. J.C. Welch of the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) received a call from Culpeper police.

Summarizing evidence for the court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said police got a call May 6 from Robert Corbin of Culpeper, who said he had received several counterfeit bills from Fincham in repayment of a personal loan. When Corbin attempted to spend the four $50 bills and three $10 bills, he discovered they were fake.

Welch, along with two U.S. Secret Service agents, went to Fincham’s residence May 9 to investigate and, according to Goff’s report, an initial search revealed a fresh $10 bill in a file cabinet drawer; it had not yet been cut from the paper it was printed on.

Judge Jeffrey W. Parker accepted Fincham’s pleas for owning counterfeiting equipment, but deferred on accepting his plea for charges of uttering (Virginia’s formal term for forgery). Parker said he was not convinced that the eight separate counts of uttering – one for each bill – should be tried individually, rather than as a whole. Parker postponed further action on those charges to today (Thursday, Oct. 18).

The case of Jerry Russell Bragg, the Strasburg resident charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery against a juvenile was continued to Nov. 16 pending the outcome of a mental competency exam. Bragg’s public defender told Judge Parker that Bragg has been in the care of a family friend recently and that he has trouble recalling and understanding information. Bragg will undergo a psychiatric examination to determine his competency to stand trial.

Nathan Dingwell, 23, of Charlottesville, was sentenced to two years in prison – all of it suspended – after he was found guilty of two counts of forging public records. Dingwell handed Virginia State Trooper Phillip Thomas the license and registration belonging to his brother after being pulled over by the trooper on Sept. 15. Dingwell, who has no previous record, said he simply acted out of fear. He also received two years of supervised probation.

Heather Leah Dodson, 33, of Viewtown, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing/possessing a schedule I/II drug (oxycodone). Goff’s presentation of evidence noted that on Jan. 19 a confidential informant for the Blue Ridge Task Force purchased oxycodone pills from Dodson for $25 each. Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 3.

Sheriff’s report

Shortly after noticing an abandoned car in the parking area of the Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue hall on Monday, fire department volunteers and Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office personnel discovered the body of a man in the woods beside the fire hall, an apparent suicide. The Sheriff’s Office would not identify the victim, other than to say he was not local but lived in Virginia. A note was found in the man’s car; following an investigation, the body was turned over to the state medical examiner’s office.

Steven M. Brooks Jr. Courtesy Rappahannock County Sheriff's Office.
Steven M. Brooks Jr. Courtesy Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office.

Last Sunday (Oct. 14), Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard L. Settle Jr. made a traffic stop in the 13000 block of Lee Highway. With the help of his K-9 partner, Bear, Settle found the driver, 23-year-old Stephen M. Brooks Jr. of Front Royal, to be in possession of marijuana. Brooks was charged with possession with intent to distribute and is being held on bond at Rappahannock County Jail, pending a hearing Dec. 18.

After a traffic stop nearby that same Sunday, Deputy Christopher Koglin charged Paul Alexander White, 26, with driving under the influence of drugs and possession with intent to distribute. White was jailed and released when he was sober. His hearing is Dec. 4.