Sheriff's official warns

about cars check scam

The Portage County Sheriff's Department is warning of a potential scam using fake cashier's or certified checks to purchase vehicles, leaving the seller without the money or their property.

Detective Lt. Greg Johnson said scam artists have already made off with two cars in Summit County, one in Lorain County and recently left a Suffield resident holding a worthless check after he listed a dirtbike for sale on, the classified advertisement website.

Johnson said the main suspect is a black male who may be working with accomplices. The suspect meets sellers and hands over a check that appears authentic.

The victim "goes ahead with the transaction, only to find out the check is counterfeit when it's taken to the bank," Johnson said.

Johnson said anyone selling items online should first verify that a check is valid before completing the transaction. If they are suspicious of a transaction or a buyer, they can call the Portage County Sheriff's Department at 330-296-5100.

Driver given one year in

prison for fatal collision

A Cleveland man who killed a Chagrin Falls man in a two-car crash in Shalersville in September 2011 was sentenced in Portage County Common Pleas Court on Feb. 4 to one year in prison.

Harold W. Aliff III, 33, apologized to the family of Dirk E. Kruger, a 47-year-old husband, father of two and advertising executive with Crain's Cleveland Business, who died in a two-vehicle head-on collision with Aliff's pickup truck on Sept. 1, 2011.

"I'd never take anyone's life on purpose," Aliff told the Kruger family. "I'd do anything I could to take it back. I have two children. I know what you're going through. I just want to tell you I'm sorry." Aliff said he prayed for Dirk Kruger "every night."

Judge John Enlow sentenced Aliff to the prison term, the minimum on a charge of third-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide. Aliff pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2012, and faced a minimum of probation, or between one and three years in prison.