May 3, 2013

Forgery charge against retired Skowhegan lawyer dismissed

A psychological exam found Charles H. Veilleux could not understand he was the victim of a scam.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN – A forgery charge against a retired Skowhegan lawyer has been dismissed after a psychological examination found that he was incapable of understanding he had passed counterfeit money in a wire transfer last summer.

Charles H. Veilleux, 79, faced a single count of aggravated forgery for allegedly attempting to wire fake money from the Hannaford supermarket at Fairgrounds Market Place in Skowhegan in August.

Veilleux, of Cross Street, was ordered by the court to undergo a mental health examination in January.

The state's case hinged in part on the circumstances in which Veilleux came to be in possession of counterfeit money in the first place, according to court documents.

Veilleux's attorney, Philip Mohlar, of Skowhegan, questioned his client's state of mind leading up to the wire transfers.

Mohlar said Veilleux was the unwitting victim of an international scam in which he was sent money that he did not realize was counterfeit. He then was asked to wire the money to a third party as part of a charitable foundation in Africa, Mohlar said.

"He fully bought into it and believed that's exactly what he was doing and that he was doing good things," Mohlar said.

"The evaluation showed there was no intent of doing anything criminal and no understanding that he had done anything wrong."

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said the examination was performed April 12.

The charge was dismissed April 26.

The clinician who did the testing determined that Veilleux "did not have the mental capacity to conceive that he passed counterfeit money or intended to defraud any establishment," according to court documents.

Veilleux was indicted on the forgery charge by a Somerset County grand jury in January. He is alleged to have attempted to pass a total of $1,100 at the Hannaford location and at Western Union at Kmart in Waterville.

The indictment covered only the Skowhegan case.

The case was handled by Maloney's Augusta office because Veilleux had worked as a lawyer in Somerset County.

 

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

dharlow@centralmaine.com

 

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