MORGANTOWN — When Amy Tingler’s home was raided by federal agents in the wee hours of August 18, 2018, the pharmacist and mother of three knew her world had changed forever.
Her former college boyfriend and husband of 15 years, Scott, a pharmacist like Amy herself, was charged with conspiring with others to distribute massive amounts of oxycodone across Monongalia County and beyond.
Scott Tingler later pleaded guilty to distributing more than 7,400 grams of oxycodone during a four-year period and filing a false tax return. He agreed to give up his pharmacist license and never seek its reinstatement. He was ordered to pay $507,942.42 in restitution to former employees and the Internal Revenue Service.
Tingler is presently housed at the federal prison in Hazelton where he is serving a 10-year sentence. Amy Tingler, now his ex-wife, and her three children recently moved in with her parents.
Scott Tingler left Amy a few additional parting gifts about which she knew nothing: Four loans totaling nearly $2 million he had secured by forging his wife’s name as co-signer. Scott Tingler has defaulted on those loans since his arrest and conviction. He admits he forged his wife’s name on countless loan application documents.
Amy Tingler was stuck with the fallout.
“It’s pretty scary what happened to me because it could happen to others,” said Amy Tingler. “This was someone who had access to all my personal information, my Social Security number, and the answers to various questions only he would know.”
Armed only that basic information about his wife and the willingness to falsify her signature, Scott Tingler secured the loans to help keep the oxycodone operation and his other business ventures functioning.
Records show he secured his first fraudulent loan in 2007 when he falsified information and walked away with more than $350,000 from WesBanco in Wheeling in 2007. In 2014, Tingler again faked his wife’s signature, this time with the 1st National Bank of Pennsylvania, and was approved for a $500,000 loan. In 2017, Tingler secured a $1.1 million loan from Citizen’s Bank, now known as Unified Bank.
The original three loans all occurred in the Ohio Valley region of the tri-state area. All three loans were managed and approved by the same individual lending officer, who is now a senior executive with Unified Bank.
In 2018 with the United Federal Credit Union in Cheat Lake, Scott Tingler received a $16,000 home equity line of credit, again with his wife’s faked signature as co-signer — even though his August 2018 arrest had been in the local news prominently.
“Nobody even cared about even Googling his name. He forged my signature 20 times. Scott said he was ‘going to take the paperwork home for my wife to sign’ and that was OK for them. He brought the paperwork back to the bank and they notarized it, even though I wasn’t there to sign it in front of anyone,” said Amy Tingler.
Amy Tingler said she is working with an attorney to disassociate herself from any of the fraudulent loans, but says some of her personal property remains encumbered by the loan against it.
Scott Tingler was in court Tuesday at the Monongalia County Justice Center, as part of a hearing for one of the loan fraud cases, which was interrupted on Feb. 26 amid the early coronavirus pandemic. Tuesday’s sentencing itself, however, was rescheduled for Thursday, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. in order to allow the judge and defendant time to review the transcript from those earlier court proceedings.
“This hearing had been postponed since the COVID-19 outbreak. I cannot recall specifics about this case and believe we could benefit from reviewing the transcript of those proceedings,” said Judge Philip D. Gaujot of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court.
Jason Wingfield, attorney for the defendant, said his client “would like to review the transcripts as well,” which prompted Gaujot to reschedule the hearing.
As part of her victim’s remarks at her former husband’s sentencing, Amy Tingler had planned to use the forum to address her ex-husband’s ability to apply for and receive large sums of money by repeatedly forging her name.
When the hearing resumes in August, Amy Tingler will speak before the judge and courtroom about her former husband. She will also address her disappointment in the banking system for not having more security checks to prevent fraudulent loans.
“I was really hoping to get my word out there because I’ve found banking practices across the state really aren’t up to par,” she said after the hearing was rescheduled. “Many of the banks are not following protocol. Some say they don’t even have a protocol. When you confront them, they will only ‘no comment.’”
Until then, she said she’s on a crusade to not only clear her name of the fraudulent debts, but to make citizens aware some banks are not performing due diligence when it comes to making loans.