Man, wife arrested in forgery, fraud schemes

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A man and woman were arrested Friday and charged in connection with several forgeries and fraud schemes in upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
   Jeremy J. Fountain, 26, and his wife Jill K. Fountain, 25, both of 273 Sneyd Lane, Unicoi, were arrested and charged with forgery and theft over $1,000.
   "The couple were forging stolen checks in order to purchase vehicles from various individuals and car lots in the Tri-Cities area," states Elizabethton Police Department Capt. Mike Peters in a press release on the arrests. "At this time, there are a total of six vehicles involved. The Fountains would trade the different vehicles after driving them for a short period of time in order to avoid being apprehended."
   According to reports, the investigation is continuing into these incidents at this time and additional charges against the couple are expected from Johnson City, Sullivan County, Hawkins County and Abingdon, Va.
   Investigators with the Elizabethton Police Department began looking into the incidents when a Mountain City man reported to police that he had sold his car to the Fountains and the bank informed him that the check he received as payment had been written on an account which had been closed due to the checks being stolen. According to reports from the victim, the transaction where the Fountains purchased the vehicle from him occurred in Elizabethton.
   "That's why we're charging them, because the transaction happened here," said EPD Inv. Jason McCall.
   According to McCall, the checks that the Fountains were using to purchase the vehicles had been stolen from a vehicle while it has been parked at the Carmike Cinema in Johnson City. "They watched her (the person whom the checks belonged to) and her friend put their purses in the trunk of the car," he said, adding that the Fountains then broke into the vehicle and stole the checks.
   After being taken into custody, the Fountains confessed to the crimes, including those that happened outside the jurisdiction of Elizabethton. "She claimed she didn't know much about it but he told us the whole rigmarole," McCall said.
   Jeremy and Jill Fountain are both slated to appear in General Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 27.