Prisoner pleads guilty to forging judge's signature

photo Shawn Steven Kidd

A 37-year-old Chattanooga man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he forged the signature of a federal judge while in state prison to try to get out early on parole.

Shaun Steven Kidd now faces as much as five years for the charge on top of separate federal forgery charges in which he pleaded guilty previously, admitting "inducing the misapplication of bank funds" multiple times from August 2008 to February 2009 at a Chattanooga SunTrust bank.

U.S. Magistrate Bill Carter set Kidd's sentencing for Oct. 1. Kidd's attorney, Rich Heinsman, declined to comment.

While awaiting an appeal of the sentence and fine on the 2008 bank fraud case, Kidd convinced a woman named Jett Varner to fax forged documents, which included the electronic signature of U.S. District Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice, according to court documents.

Mattice never signed the document.

If successful, the documents could have released the federal detainer on Kidd, which holds inmates in state custody until their sentence has been served before they're transferred to serve federal prison time.

In the 2008 case, court records show that Kidd convinced bank teller Jacinda James to transfer money, the largest transaction was $40,000, from other accounts to Kidd's account.

James cooperated with prosecutors, pleading guilty to one count of theft by a bank officer. She received one day in jail and under five years of supervised probation.