Dad Presses Charges on Son

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – A Grapeland man has been arrested and charged with two counts of forgery and one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle after he tried to cash two checks which did not belong to him.

Duane Newell Osborn, 52, was arrested on June 8 after the owner of the checking account “… reported someone had been using his checks without permission.”

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the account holder went to the Crockett Police Department on June 1 and presented various papers from HEB, Brookshire Brothers and Prosperity Bank.

“The papers from HEB and Brookshire Brothers were from collection agencies stating that he passed bad checks and they were attempting to collect the debt. The one from Prosperity Bank was a check that someone had attempted to cash, but the bank would not let them cash it,” the affidavit reported.

The account holder informed the law enforcement officials Prosperity Bank had told him “… a man by the name of Duane Osborn came up to the bank on May 22 attempting to cash the check.”

The check was made out to a name other than Osborn and allegedly signed by the account holder. An employee at Prosperity Bank informed the police she knew Osborn and denied cashing the check for several reasons, according to the affidavit.

The employee stated the reasons were “… because the account was old and had already been closed out and that Osborn was not the one the check was addressed to.”

In addition, the account holder said he had never met Osborn and did not know him.

As the investigation continued, CPD officers traveled to Grapeland in an attempt to get video footage of the check being cashed, the legal document stated.

CPD Officer Andrew Allen “… made contact with one of the managers who was able to access the video records. On the video, I observed someone that I know to be Duane Osborn pass a check to the cashier at the time the records stated the check was cashed at Brookshire Brothers,” the affidavit indicated.

Video footage from HEB was unavailable because of a recent changes to the store’s surveillance cameras.

In regard to the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge, Houston County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Van Egmond was dispatched to a call on the outskirts of Grapeland when he passed a yellow Chevy Avalanche.

In a separate affidavit of probable cause, Van Egmond stated he recognized the driver as Amanda West (Osborn) and because of prior dealings with West, he knew she didn’t have valid driver’s license. He also observed a male passenger in the truck.

Van Egmond reported had he not been dispatched to another call he would have stopped West for the offense.

He was still enroute to the first call when he was dispatched to another call involving a stolen vehicle.

“Houston County Sheriff’s Office advised the vehicle that was taken was a yellow Chevy Avalanche and it was believed by the owner of the vehicle that his son, Duane Osborn, and granddaughter, Amanda West-Osborn) were in possession of the vehicle,” the second affidavit reported.

When Van Egmond arrived at the location of the complainant, the report indicated he met with Osborn’s father who said he lent the truck to his son and granddaughter several hours ago to go to the grocery store. At most, the father stated, they should have been gone two hours.

After speaking with Osborn’s father, Van Egmond provided him with a witness form and requested dispatch to enter the vehicle as stolen because the father wanted to file charges.

Osborn was taken into custody on June 8 and charged with two counts of forgery along with one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Under Texas law, the forgery charge is considered a third degree felony while the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge is considered a state jail felony.

According to Section 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”

The state jail punishment ranges from 180 days to two years and also carries up to a $10,000 fine.

Osborn is held at the Houston County Jail on bonds totaling $25,000.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.