Former Kent State students plead guilty to forgery charges in fake ID trial

Two former Kent State University students caught receiving fake IDs in the mail from China both pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of forgery; each count is a first degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

The charges were amended down from three counts of felony forgery, three counts of felony identity fraud and three counts of telecommunications fraud. All were fifth degree felonies, meaning the pair could have been facing up to three years in prison each.

Laurie Pittman, Portage County Common Pleas judge, presided over the plea hearings Friday morning in the case of Drew H. Patenaude, 21, of S. Lincoln St., and Antonino G. Bucca, 21, of Broadview Heights.

In February, customs agents intercepted a package containing 90 fake IDs. Kent Police started their investigation later that month and arrested the pair in March. The following month, both students were dismissed from Kent State University and banned from entering campus.

The courtroom was filled with emotion before the hearing. Both Patenaude and Bucca signed documents cementing their decisions to plead guilty and waited with their families as their lawyers explained the rights they were giving up and what was likely to take place following their pleas.

Pittman accepted their pleas and turned their cases over for a pre-sentencing investigation hearing from the Portage County Adult Probation Office in Ravenna. How much time, if any, Pautenaude and Bucca will spend in jail has not been decided. Pittman allowed each of them to continue to be free on bond.

The sentencing date is anticipated to be set for four or five weeks from now; the court will make a decision in the next few days.

See previous coverage here and here.

Contact Sara Welch at [email protected].