UPDATE: Restaurant Owner Accused Of Forging Daughter's Checks - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

UPDATE: Restaurant Owner Accused Of Forging Daughter's Checks

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TRAPPE, Md. - Accusations of forging a family member's checks and stealing thousands of dollars worth of products has a Talbot County restaurant owner in hot water.

Debra Cussen is the owner of Hidden Gem Restaurant.

On Monday, she was arrested for reportedly writing checks out of her own daughter's checking account, forging her signature to pay invoices.

According to court documents obtained by WMDT, investigators found 74 checks which reportedly had been forged and issued by Ms. Cussen, then were returned by the Talbot Bank because the account had insufficient funds.

Those checks were reportedly written to four food vendors in Maryland, totaling more than $57,000.

She faces 68 charges, some dating back to 2012. Those charges include: 14 counts of Forgery - Private Documents; 14 counts of Possession of Forged Private Documents; 14 counts of Issuing False Documents; 12 counts of Theft - less than $1,000.00; five counts of Theft - $1,000.00 to under $10,000.00; two counts of Theft - $10,000.00 to under $100,000.00; one count of Theft Scheme - less than $1,000.00; and six counts of Theft Scheme - $1,000.00 to under $10,000.00.

The documents include a reported counterfeit check from July 2013 for almost $500 made out to Teddy Bear Fresh in Easton. We reached out to the local produce supplier. A representative said the company couldn't comment at this time.
     
"There was a lot more businesses of course dealing with this restaurant, but these were the four these were based off of," said Trappe Police chief George Ball.

In November, Ball initiated the investigation after Cussen's daughter was herself accused of stealing money.

Ball says he knew she didn't own the Hidden Gem, so he looked into hundreds of checks before arresting Cussen.

WMDT looked for Cussen at her restaurant, but told she wasn't there.

"We prefer not to charge people if we don't have to, but sometimes we have to," said Ball.

Cussen's trial is expected to begin May first.

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