The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 6, 2014

Former notary to face court action

DANVILLE – Police officers were among the victims of a former Danville notary’s alleged swindle totaling more than $31,000.

Two state troopers were among four victims asked to appear for a preliminary hearing Tuesday for Natalie Wetzel, 45, of Danville, charged with stealing from 179 victims.

Wetzel, who remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail, waived her right to a preliminary hearing before Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder. Wetzel is represented by court-appointed attorney Leslie Bryden.

County District Attorney Rebecca Warren said investigating officer Tpr. Mark Rider chose the four victims who would have testified if a hearing had been held.

They included Tpr. Jim Nizinski and Tpr. Anthony Bickhart. Both are stationed at the Milton barracks. They said they had gone to Wetzel’s Danville notary office for an ATV transfer and a truck sale tax transfer. 

Other victims appearing were Kevin Kraiza, of Danville, who went to Wetzel for an out-of-state car title transfer and Larry Hans, of Milton, for the transfer of a fifth-wheel camper from his dad to him.

Warren said Wetzel’s bond company, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PennDOT and the state Department of Revenue were also victims related to worthless checks and the bond company was a victim in making a claim against Wetzel’s license.

State police said the incidents occurred from February 2012 through February 2013.

Wetzel operated Wetzel Notary Service at 432 Mill St. with the victims including 15 people 60 and older, state police said.

Police said, in most cases, Wetzel kept the money and fees she collected for her own personal use.

Wetzel allegedly stole $9,479 in December 2012, $6,093 in January 2013, $8,058 in February 2013 and an additional $3,343.

She allegedly committed theft by deception involving $1,414 in June 2012, $1,438 in August 2012, $478 in September 2012 and an additional $752.

Police said the victims paid for transactions which included vehicle sales tax, vehicle title transfers, registrations, transfers and renewals, boat sales tax, boat title transfers, boat trailer title transfers, boat trailer registration transfers and renewals, trailer registration and renewals, all-terrain vehicle sales tax, ATV title transfers and registrations, snowmobile sales tax, title transfers and registrations, driver’s license renewals and birth certificate applications.

A search warrant was executed April 10 with police collecting seven boxes and a plastic bag of paperwork from the notary business.

In several weeks, they discovered numerous additional victims.

Wetzel faces 85 counts including 2 counts of theft by deception, 12 counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 45 counts of worthless checks and 16 counts of possessing non-notorized titles without names and signatures.

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