Update: Wood has been sentenced. Read that story here.
Lawrence “Junior” Wood Jr., of Amissville, is scheduled to be sentenced next Tuesday for his 58th alleged criminal violation in Rappahannock County alone.
Since 2003, Wood, 45, has been found guilty in Rappahannock County Circuit Court of 14 charges of forgery, 14 charges of uttering (another form of forgery), 26 probation violations, entering property with intent to damage, and stealing checks.
He has also faced similar if not more serious charges in Warren, Orange, Page and Spotsylvania counties.
The latest charges in Rappahannock — failure to perform construction after being paid, and issuing a bad check over $500 — were brought by Huntly resident Brook Farrell. According to the criminal complaint filed by Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office Investigator James Jones, Wood and Farrell “entered into a contract for Mr. Wood to construct a 60’ x 30’ barn . . . for the cost of $33,466.”
Farrell advanced Wood the money, but the barn was never constructed. When Farrell demanded her money back, “Wood wrote a check to pay Brook Farrell for $30,879, so that she would not pursue criminal charges against him concerning a construction fraud case,” Jones wrote in a separate complaint.
However, the check was returned by the bank for “insufficient funds.” To date, no restitution has been made.
Farrell said she hired Wood, an otherwise talented carpenter and builder, on the basis of references from people she trusted who had employed Wood successfully. Despite his record, he seems to be able to garner good references, including from some of Rappahannock County’s highest public officials.
For example, in 2008 Wood was sentenced in Rappahannock to 10 years and 10 months in the penitentiary, with five years suspended, plus two additional years for probation violations. One year later, a motion filed in Rappahannock County Circuit Court asking to suspend the unserved portion of that sentence included eight letters of reference from county officials who include Sheriff Connie Compton, then-County Administrator John McCarthy, past Treasurer Frances Foster, and Beverly Atkins, former Commissioner of the Revenue.
The letters described Wood as dependable, respectful, trustworthy, and hard working. As a result, Wood was not moved to the penitentiary, rather was incarcerated in the former county jail working as a trustee under the supervision of Compton.
In 2012, Wood’s attorney Matthew Crowley, entered a motion to modify Wood’s sentence because “Defendant [Wood] has never been transferred to the Virginia State Department of Corrections.”
Wood’s current charge of issuing a bad check carries a potential sentence of one to five years in prison or confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both. The charge for failure to perform construction carries a sentence of up to 20 years.
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