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Self-proclaimed religious leader heading to trial

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 04 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 06 2012 04:14:46 AM CST

A man accused of passing nearly a dozen bad checks over nine months is headed to court in Allentown.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A man accused of passing nearly a dozen bad checks over nine months is headed to court in Allentown.

Robert Hester waived is right to a preliminary hearing at the Lehigh County Courthouse Wednesday, so this case is headed to trial.

Robert Hester, 27, walked slowly into the courthouse.

He's facing 13 charges, including theft and writing bad checks.

Besides the judge, his wife and a handful of people police say he ripped off, waited inside.

According to investigators, from January through October of this year Hester wrote 11 bad checks totalling $8,253.53.

Court paperwork says Hester wrote the checks to go shopping, to buy an iPhone, and to have work done on his car, among other things.

He even wrote a couple of worthless checks to himself for $4,000 and tried to cash them.

The checks were written from the accounts of a church in Newark, New Jersey, and the Pneuma Life Center in Allentown.

Authorities say Hester claims to be a minister at the Life Center, and that he's currently wanted on fraud charges in New Jersey and Delaware.

Court documents say Hester's been convicted of passing bad checks three times in the last five years.

Just this week South Whitehall Township Police charged him with writing four worthless checks on the same church accounts.

He's due back in Lehigh County court in January.