Four Bethlehem women and a fifth from Allentown have been implicated in a scheme to cash fraudulent checks at a Stefko Boulevard gas station, stealing more than $3,000 in the process, according to court papers.
Arrested on Friday were Jenny Hassan, 36, of 1967 Hillcrest Road, Bethlehem, and Shanta Tarah Newton, 24, of 1220 Fairmount St., Bethlehem. Both were charged with felony theft by deception.
Three other women were named as co-defendants in the arrest warrant and, according to online court records, charges against them were filed on Thursday, though none had been arrested as of Friday afternoon.
They are Lastasha Serrano of 1951 Hillcrest Road, Bethlehem; Angelina Boka of 1950 Hillcrest Road, Bethlehem, and Daylena Carney of 226 S. Carlisle St., Allentown.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, each of these women – at least one time in December – visited the Shell Taylor Mini Mart at 1907 Stefko Boulevard and cashed a check that turned out to be a fraud.
According to the affidavit, Hassan told Bethlehem police the following:
- Her friend, Boka, told her that her friend “Stasha” (Serrano) could help her with money problems.
- On Dec. 17, Serrano picked Hassan up at her house and drove her to the gas station. Once there, Serrano pulled out a stack of checks from a pile she had in her car and handed one to Hassan and told her to go inside and cash it.
- Hassan returned to the car with $389. Serrano told her to give her all of it, except for $100, and drove Hassan back home.
- Both Serrano and Boka told Hassan to lie to police about the scheme, saying that it all originated with a Craigslist ad – “a false lead to throw off law enforcement.”
Hassan and Newton were both released on unsecured bail following their arraignments before District Judge Patricia Romig-Passaro.