Trial postponed for Paso Robles woman accused of forgery
September 5, 2010
Less than a week before her trial was to start, the Paso Robles grant writer accused of fraud changed her attorney and postponed her trial until Nov. 30 in U.S. District Court in Riverside. [DesertSun]
Jean Cross is charged with forgery, mail fraud and making false statements in relations to a $35 million federal grant she garnered for the Indio Youth Task Force in 2007. According to her agreement with the Task Force, she was contracted to receive 15 percent or about $5 million for her efforts.
On Friday, during a pretrial hearing, a judge agreed to postpone the hearing at the request of her new attorney, Joel Isaacson of Los Angeles.
Cross’ former attorney, Berkeley-based attorney Harold Rosenthal, had argued for the dismissal of two of the charges because there was no prove of intent to defraud.
Cross is accused of forging the signatures of principals on the application and supporting documents. Cross said she “windowed” the signatures by holding them up to a light and tracing them with different colored pens to add authenticity, according to an interview with investigating agents.
Cross contends Gilbert Marrujo, former facilitator for the After School Education Safety program, was responsible for gathering the signature and decided instead to fax a copy of a previous grant application to Cross.
Rosenthal said in a motion to dismiss the counts of forgery and making false statements that the “Desert Sands Unified School District knew the signatures on the application submitted were replicas.”
Cross faces a maximum penalty of 35 years in federal prison if convicted.