Marathon Code Compliance Board member arrested on forgery count

rmccarthy@keynoter.comFebruary 22, 2014 

The Marathon City Council will have one fewer application to consider when it fills two open slots on the city's Code Compliance Board on Tuesday.

Longtime member Alun Stephen Pearson has withdrawn his name from consideration following a Feb. 7 arrest for allegedly forging signatures to obtain a duplicate title for a boat belonging to a 70-year-old Tavares man with dementia.

Pearson is charged with felony fraud and passing a counterfeited instrument related to the incident, which took place in October.

Pearson was appointed to the Code Compliance Board in 2007 and has been subsequently reappointed. His term ends on March 1 and he had applied for reappointment.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, last July 25, Pearson applied for a duplicate title at the Monroe County Tax Collector's Office in Marathon. It was for a 1979 Chris Craft boat belonging to Bartholomew and Joan Sanfilippo.

The Sheriff's Office says Pearson presented "two durable power of attorneys to clerk Karen Crutchfield" that "bore the names and apparent signatures of" the Sanfilippos. Both of their names were on the title as registered owners.

The forms also "bore the notary stamp of Jeanette Pelletier, who is Pearson's former office manager."

On Aug. 5, a duplicate title was issued and mailed to Pearson's Marathon Auto Air & Electric business at U.S. 1 and 25th Street.

On Dec. 3, the Sheriff's Office contacted Joan Sanfilippo, who told police she "never signed any power of attorney" and "does not know who Pearson is." She also told police that Bartholomew "has dementia" and has been in a treatment facility since October 2013.

Both Joan Sanfilippo and her daughter, Tammi Dewerff, told police that signatures on the power-of-attorney forms were forged, "citing multiple discrepancies."

In a Feb. 3 interview, Pearson told police he "didn't remember" applying for the duplicate title at the Tax Collector's Office, despite being told that Crutchfield "identified him in a photo lineup as the person that turned in the forged documents."

February's arrest was not the first run-in with the law for Pearson.

In 2005, he was charged with voter fraud for providing false voter registration information, and felony fraud for voting as an unqualified voter.

In 2007, Pearson was arrested for misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief stemming from an incident outside the On Time Taxi office at 2218 Overseas Highway. He reportedly shoved a female On Time employee after alleging "that one of her employees had stolen his trailer" from an adjacent storage property.

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