Bolsinger figures disclosed

More details have emerged in the indictment of former Ashland Daily Tidings Editor Andrew Scot Bolsinger last week on almost two dozen felony theft and forgery charges related to a string of failed downtown businesses he co-owned.

A Jackson County grand jury on Thursday indicted Bolsinger, 42, on nine counts each of aggravated first-degree theft and first-degree forgery as well as three counts of identity theft and two counts of first-degree theft, stemming from his business dealings in 2006-07.

His wife, Lori Bolsinger, was indicted on single counts of first-degree theft and first-degree forgery for her alleged role in a series of 24 felonies laid out in the indictment.

The details of the indictments were released Friday and accuse Scot Bolsinger of stealing the identities of friends-turned-investors en route to forging loan documents and stealing money from banks, lending companies and the investors themselves, court documents show.

"The losses due to theft and forgery exceed $200,000," said Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Rachel Bridges, who declined to be specific.

"It's a very complicated case," Bridges said. "There's more than 20 banker's boxes worth of documents."

Meanwhile, Scot Bolsinger remained in the Santiam Correctional Institute in Salem, where he is serving a prison sentence of nearly two years after pleading guilty in July to sex-abuse charges for having illicit sex with a teenage girl he taught, coached and mentored while teaching at a Salem-area Christian academy in 2000.

Lori Bolsinger could not be reached for comment.

No appearance date has been set for either Bolsinger in the case.

Scot Bolsinger was fired in February 2008 from his post at the Daily Tidings.

The indictment, other court documents and interviews revealed a gnarled financial web in which Bolsinger parlayed his Daily Tidings editorship to create business deals that left a string of people and businesses in the lurch.

He began by purchasing The Main Source, a copying business, and eventually gathered investors to buy Pipon's, Lithia Stationers and what became the Jefferson State Pub. The pub ownership later reverted back to its original owners while the other businesses have closed.

Ashland accountant and former Tidings Publisher Tom Reid, who once did accounting for Bolsinger's businesses, said he told the grand jury Thursday that Bolsinger regularly took money from one business account to cover shortages in others.

"It wasn't huge amounts," Reid said Friday. "It was thousands of dollars, not hundreds of thousands.

"He was an undercapitalized business (man) with cash shortages from the start," Reid said. "He took on more and it got worse." The indictment charges Bolsinger with stealing more than $50,000 from Tim Gustin, a Pipon's investor whom sources described as an old Bolsinger friend from California, in September 2006.

In November that year, Bolsinger is accused of forging checks and stealing more than $10,000 from Bank of America and California investor Elaine Leffler, whom sources described as a friend of Lori Bolsinger's.

The indictment also accuses Bolsinger of stealing at least $90,000 from a Georgia-based outlet called AdvanceMe Inc., which offers small businesses cash advances against future consumer purchases at the business via credit cards.

The indictment says Bolsinger stole more than $50,000 in loans taken out through AdvanceMe in November 2007 and at least $10,000 on four other occasions earlier that year.

Like some former investors, Reid said he began business dealings, in part, because of Bolsinger's newspaper connection.

Reid eventually parted ways with Bolsinger, who owed him money for services unpaid. Reid never pursued collecting the loss, he said. Reid declined to say how much Bolsinger owed him or why he declined to pursue action against Bolsinger.

Reid said he does not believe Bolsinger began his failed business run through downtown Ashland with the intention of defrauding friends, townspeople and financial institutions.

"But as he got deeper in the hole, things came home to roost," said Reid, who was publisher of the Daily Tidings from 1978 to 1983.

Bolsinger also is charged with forging a credit application in March 2007, and with stealing the identities of Leffler, Gustin and Ashland resident Fred Stockwell, a photographer and Jefferson State Pub investor.

Court papers state that Stockwell's name was forged on a $20,000 AdvanceMe loan application that also included Bolsinger's signature as a witness. That original loan document was faxed to AdvanceMe from inside the Daily Tidings office in Ashland, according to a police affidavit.

Stockwell could not be located Friday for comment.

One count of first-degree theft charges Bolsinger with stealing unspecified supplies and merchandise worth more than $750 from an unidentified victim.

Lori Bolsinger faces a first-degree forgery charge for allegedly falsifying an AdvanceMe loan agreement with her husband in March 2007.

The first-degree theft count against her accuses her of stealing more than $5,000 in December 2006 from an unidentified victim, the indictment states.

Ashland police detectives had recommended a forgery charge against Jody Lydick, a former employee at the Daily Tidings and at Lithia Stationers.

Lydick told the Mail Tribune in December that she forged Leffler's signature on the letter at Lori Bolsinger's behest.

Lydick was not indicted, and she testified before the grand jury in this case, court records show.

Mark Freeman is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 776-4470 or

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