Somerset man accused of forging signature on state police employment application
A 30-year-old Somerset man allegedly forged his father’s signature twice, once in 2017 and once in January, while applying to become a Pennsylvania State Police trooper.
Andrew Scott Hixson, Aiken Avenue, was charged Tuesday with two counts of forgery, a third-degree felony, and one count of unsworn falsification to authorities, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Hixson dropped off his formal application and background booklet at the state police barracks in Somerset on Jan. 14. He left a blank space on one of the pages of the application where a witness must sign. That witness signature is needed for a state police criminal investigator to obtain an applicant’s personal information, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
Trooper Joseph Kozuch, assigned to conduct the background investigation for Hixson’s application, informed him by phone that he needed to get that signature.
The following day, Hixson returned to the barracks with the paper allegedly signed by his father. Kozuch said the writing was similar to Hixson’s. Hixson was asked if he had forged his father’s signature, and he said he had not.
Kozuch then reviewed two prior application packets from Hixson, along with the one from January. The application dated April 20, 2014, had a different signature that matched Hixson’s father’s signature on his driver’s license, but the signatures from the other application packets, including one from March 27, 2017, did not match, Kozuch said.
On Jan. 16, the trooper went to Hixson’s residence and spoke with his father, Jeffrey Hixson. He asked the father to print and sign his name 22 times on a piece of paper. That signature was consistent with the one on his driver’s license and the one on the first employment application. At first the father said he had signed the most recent application, but he later recanted, according to the affidavit.
On Jan. 21, Andrew Hixson was interviewed about eight omissions on his application and two omissions in his booklet. Hixson told police “he thought he could get some by us and have a chance at getting into the Academy,” the trooper wrote. He said he forged his father’s signature and lied about it because he “thought he could get through the process quicker.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 8 before District Judge Ken Johnson in Somerset.