A St. Croix man allegedly passed $13,750 in forged checks, bilking the Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights’ parent company and another business entity, police said Thursday.
Police arrested Claudio Ponce, 55, Thursday while being held on unrelated charges. He was charged with obtaining money by false pretense, grand larceny, and forgery.
Police had been investigating a complaint of checks stolen from Titan Service Gas Station since Oct. 5. The investigation led the Virgin Islands Police Force’s Economic Crimes Unit to Ponce.
He allegedly passed 12 stolen business checks written against the business accounts of pharmaceutical company FarmMed Resources LLC and Ten Sleepless Knights Incorporation, forging the owners’ signatures on the checks.
Stanley Jacobs, flutist of Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, was one of ten Americans awarded the National Heritage Fellowship in June. Congressional Delegate Stacey Plaskett said he and his band were U.S. Virgin Islands’ cultural flag bearers for their dedication to traditional quelbé music.
“The NEA Fellowship is our nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts that celebrates artistic excellence and supports continuing contributions to our traditional arts heritage,” Plaskett said in June. “Mr. Jacobs is known to thousands of Virgin Islanders for sharing the artfulness of quelbé music.”
Bail was set at $20,000 for the alleged crime. Unable to post bail, Claudio Ponce was remanded back to the Bureau of Adult Corrections Facility pending, Advice of Rights Hearing scheduled for Friday, police said.
It is not Ponce’s first infraction. A decade ago, he, also known to police as Claudio Ponce Jr, allegedly broke into the John H. Woodson Junior High School and removed electronic equipment, including laptop computers and a flat-screen television. Ponce was charged with third-degree burglary, unauthorized presence on school premises, and destruction of property.