Barga reversal denied by appellate court in counterfeiting conviction

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

LIMA – Robert L. Barga of Sidney, who was found guilty of charges related to his counterfeiting activities, has lost in his appeal in the case. He was claiming part of his 2017 guilty verdict was based on insufficient evidence and testimony of questionable prosecution witnesses.

On July 16, a three-judge panel at the Third District Court of Appeals in Lima, affirmed the decision rendered by a jury on July 14, 2017, in Shelby County Common Pleas Court.

Sentenced on Aug. 29, Barga, 42, 615 Sixth Ave., was ordered confined with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction by Judge James Stevenson. The judge said it was Barga’s previous and continued criminal behavior that factored into his decision that day.

Barga was found guilty of one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; four counts of forgery; and one count of possession of criminal tools, all fifth-degree felonies.

In online court records, Barga claimed the forgery and criminal tools charges were based on “the absence of sufficient evidence”. He said the charges were based on evidence that could not be directly linked to him.

In the judges’ decision, they note, in part, “the State provided a legally adequate basis for the jury to conclude that Barga was guilty.”

In a second point, Barga questioned the testimonies of two less-than-credible witnesses being allow. He claimed Trisa Engle of Sidney and Nick Harris of Piqua were known drug addicts, convicted felons, and were less than truthful on the stand. He was seeking acquittal on two forgery charges based on their testimony.

In review, the appeals court ruled there was no problems in the evidence involving the witnesses.

Based on court records, the charge of corrupt activity stated Barga was involved in producing and distributing counterfeit money between May 1 through Dec. 15, 2016. The forgery counts resulted in Barga’s attempt to defraud and possessed counterfeit banknotes on or about Dec. 6 and Dec. 15, 2016. The possessing criminal tools charge stemmed from Barga having a printer/scanner which was used to produce counterfeit paper money.

Barga was arrested after a search warrant was executed by Sidney Police and the United States Secret Service at his residence on Dec. 15, 2016.

Prosecutors claimed Barga headed up efforts regarding fake $10 and $20 bills being created and distributed through various means. They said he and others would sell the bills at a 2 for 1 rate. The bills were used to make small purchases at local bars, retailers, gas stations and fast food restaurants, receiving goods, real money in the change, or both. The money was also used to buy drugs in Dayton.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.