Essex Educational Consultant Arrested as Co-Conspirator in Alleged Counterfeiting Scheme
Krista Karch, an Essex resident with ties to the community as an educational consultant, was arrested on July 28 as an alleged co-conspirator in a fraudulent scheme producing counterfeit documents.
The charges brought against Karch, 48, were second-degree forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery in the second degree, telephone fraud in the third degree, and money laundering in the fourth degree.
The Courier sought to reach Karch for comment by telephone. Voicemail messages were not returned.
The counterfeiting operation, which involved Karch and co-conspirator Orlando Dominguez, 41, of Bridgeport, was uncovered after a lengthy investigation stemming from a complaint filed with the Monroe Police Department. Dominguez was arrested on July 29.
The complaint, filed on Feb. 26, involved “the sale of a motor vehicle with fraudulent title,” said Lieutenant Stephen Corrone of the Monroe Police Department in a press release.
Detectives from Monroe worked with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Department of Motor Vehicles, along with the Bridgeport Police Department to develop several suspects.
“During the execution of multiple search and seizure warrants, evidence was seized,” and after its analysis, exposed a “larger, well-organized counterfeiting organization,” said Corrone in the press release.
The counterfeit items produced by Dominguez included Connecticut and New York car titles, auto insurance cards, U.S. currency, emissions paperwork, and boating certificates.
Karch, who is authorized by DEEP to give boating licensing classes, would allegedly help Dominguez sell forged boating certificates “to individuals without the need of the required eight-hour class,” according to the press release.
“DEEP is conducting an internal investigation based on these allegations, which DEEP takes very seriously,” said Will Healey, a spokesperson for the state agency, by email.
“Based on these allegations, the boating division will be reviewing all aspects of its programming. It is our hope that through this process, we will identify both the potential extent of the allegation in terms of fraudulent certifications, and improvements of oversight and monitoring of performance by contracted education providers,” he added.
Karch is listed as an instructor on the A B Sea Safe Boating web site, with classes offered for certification to operate a variety of watercraft including power boat, jet ski, sailboat, and ski and tube.
“Dominguez, he was the middleman,” said Corrone by telephone. “He would set it up through her to get the forged boating certificates.”
“This conspiracy was carried out via cell phone and utilizing the banking system,” according to the press release.
Karch was released on a $2,500 bond. She and Dominguez are expected to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on September 23.
Karch has an extensive professional career in education, working as an educational consultant in Essex from 2001 to 2008 for Smarty Pants Learning Center and as an educational technology consultant for the Essex Technology Institute from 2001 to 2009.
Karch is currently listed as the director of Thrive Solutions, LLC, in Essex. This organization provides academic support, college and career planning and educational advocacy for students of all ages, according to the organization’s website.
In her bio for this organization, Karch highlights membership on the board of directors for Sister Cities Essex Haiti (SCEH), an Essex-based non-profit formed in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Karch, who has been a member on the SCEH board since October 2019, resigned as director from SCEH on Aug. 7, according to SCEH Vice President and Treasurer Kathleen Maher.
Prior to her position at Thrive Solutions, LLC, Karch was assistant superintendent of schools for the Cromwell Public School district. She resigned in February 2019 following an investigation by the Cromwell Board of Education that revealed an improper relationship between Karch and then-superintendent of schools John Maloney.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Karch's resignation from SCEH.