SURGOINSVILLE — A Hawkins County home health care worker who allegedly stole checks from her patient has been charged with 27 counts of forgery by Church Hill police and 15 counts of forgery by Surgoinsville police, but dozens more charges may be pending from other jurisdictions.
The victim, Joe Lawson of Church Hill, told police earlier this month that Jacqueline Inez Burchfield, 38, 234 Fiddler Lane, Surgoinsville, had been employed as a home health care provider for Lawson’s wife in May.
During that time, Burchfield allegedly stole several books of blank checks from the Lawsons, and Joe Lawson recently learned from his bank that numerous checks had been forged throughout the county.
Surgoins- ville Police Chief Jeff Hesoun arrested Burchfield at her home Wednesday after clerks at three local businesses — Pizza Plus, Williams Drug Store, and Rick and Dot’s Market — picked Burchfield’s picture from a photo lineup, identifying her as the person who had passed the Lawsons’ stolen checks.
“Apparently the suspect took several books (of checks) and just went town to town passing checks at various businesses,” Hesoun said. “She started in Kingsport and worked her way to Rogersville. After being notified by his bank, the victim basically went from police department to police department to report the checks which had been forged in each jurisdiction.”
Hesoun said Burchfield was surprised to be arrested Wednesday because she’d already been charged with 27 counts of forgery by Church Hill police. Hesoun said he had to explain to Burchfield that each individual jurisdiction where she forged checks would be charging her separately.
Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian said Thursday forgery charges against Burchfield are pending by his department, although the exact number couldn’t be confirmed.
Burchfield was free on bond as of Thursday evening with arraignment set for Aug. 4.