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Palmerton official's bad check hearing in March

Published February 04. 2014 05:00PM

A Palmerton Borough official charged with a misdemeanor bad check offense will have his preliminary hearing next month.

Michael Ballard, 54, is scheduled to appear before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton at 10:30 a.m. March 12.

Ballard was originally scheduled to go before Kissner in December on criminal charges. Instead, the hearing was continued.

A former Palmerton Area School director, Ballard was re-elected to a four-year term on borough council in November's general election.

Ballard was originally appointed to fill a vacant seat on council in May of 2012, after former Councilman Randolph Gursky resigned after he bought a business and moved to another state.

Before his appointment to council, Ballard served seven years on the PASD board of directors.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by borough police Chief Randy Smith:

On Oct. 1, at around 2:55 p.m., Timothy DeSousa stopped at the Palmerton Police Department and presented the attached copies of a check in the amount of $2,428, dated Sept. 10, 2013, from the account of Michael J. Ballard and Mary E Smida, drawn on National Penn Bank Account, according to the affidavit.

The check was issued to DeSousa Oil & Service Corp for payment of a civil judgment, the affidavit says. The check was deposited into the DeSousa Oil Account and was returned to DeSousa Oil stamped "NSF".

DeSousa advised that back in early-August of this year, he filed civil judgment against Ballard. On Sept. 2, a constable went to the Ballard residence to serve the execution sale on Ballard, and Ballard asked for an extension.

The constable called DeSousa and spoke with him, and Ballard was given an extension until Sept. 10 to pay.

Ballard advised the constable he could return on Sept. 10 and pick up the payment.

The constable returned on Sept. 10 and picked up a check for the full amount of the civil judgment. DeSousa Oil sent a letter dated Sept. 20 to Ballard advising him that the check was returned to DeSousa Oil for insufficient funds, and that he had to come in to the office with cash or a money order to buy back the check, plus a $50 service charge, for a total of $2,478.

On Sept. 20, DeSousa Oil called Ballard and spoke with him, and advised him that he had 10 days to make the check good, or it would be turned over to the police for prosecution.

As of the filing of the complaint, DeSousa Oil has not heard from Ballard.

When contacted after charges were filed against him, Ballard said the situation occurred because his accounts were "hacked."

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