10:06am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

No probable cause found, criminal charges dismissed against Allegheny Wood Products president

MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — A Hardy County magistrate has dismissed criminal charges against Allegheny Wood Products President John Crites II.

Crites, whose 50-year-old company closed its doors earlier this year because of financial problems, was charged with two felony counts of obtaining goods under false pretenses in connection logs delivered to the company’s yard near Moorefield.

Two loggers, Mark Rexrode and Victoria Dyer, claimed checks used to pay them bounced because AWP’s account with United Bank had been frozen.

Magistrate Shawna Crites, no relation, heard testimony during a preliminary hearing last week and found there was no probable cause to forward the charges to a grand jury. Both criminal counts were dismissed.

MORE read court documents here

Crites claimed the bank forced the company to close its doors.

“The bank declared a default and froze its operating accounts. For valid reasons, people are angry. Yet, a company not paying bills after a bank seizes its money doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal case,” Crites’ attorney Isaac Sponaugle said heading into the hearing. “This is a civil matter. Creditors are trying to use the criminal justice system to skip line in the federal civil action. The criminal charges should be dismissed.”

Following the dismissal, Sponaugle said Crites feels vindicated.

“The Magistrate Court dismissed the case for lack of probable cause. Allegheny Wood Products has a 50-year history of paying their bills on time. He hopes all vendors with valid claims get paid in the federal civil action. He does not want that history tarnished any further. With that said, John Crites, II, is not a criminal and the court confirmed that. He looks forward to resolving this matter completely in federal court,” Sponaugle said.

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