ALBANY, Ga. — A scam set up to cash fake checks resulted in three people being jailed and a fourth going on the run, a Dougherty County Police Department report stated.
Apparently someone forgot to let a relative in on the plan and it unraveled from there, police Sgt. Chad Kirkpatrick said.
Naomi Cassandra Johnson, Bennie Hunter Jr. and Larry Donnell Oliver Jr. were arrested on check forgery charges, Kirkpatrick said. Police continue to look for Sherriell Mansfield in connection with the case, he added.
“On Dec. 7 Denzell Brown reported his wallet with his I.D. stolen,” Kirkpatrick said. “About that time he reported getting a letter from Publix that he owed them $826.37 for a check he cashed that wasn’t any good.”
Brown said he didn’t cash any check from Southeastern Commercial Tire and Recapping at the supermarket, Kirkpatrick said. Brown didn’t even see the check, although it had his name on it, Kirkpatrick added.
According to Kirkpatrick, a video check and investigation showed that Brown’s uncle Bennie Hunter Jr. cashed the check. The check led back not only to Hunter, but to Johnson, Oliver and Mansfield.
The four had been printing forged checks with the tire company’s name and a bank routing number from First Community Bank, Kirkpatrick said. As part of the scam, they sent the checks out to people on a client list Johnson had from her Pro’s Tax Service, he added.
“They even sent checks to family and themselves,” Kirkpatrick said. “I guess they did that so they could claim they were victims, too.”
The ill conceived plan, Kirkpatrick said, was to take the checks they received and cash them, while others cashed checks and cut them in on the proceeds. People who didn’t know about the ruse were left to fend for themselves, he added.
Instead of cashing the checks, people began to complain to the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office that the checks were bogus. When nephew Brown complained about his stolen wallet and the false claim that he cashed a check, two plus two came together, authorities said.
On Dec. 12, officers executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence at 921 B Willow Wood Drive, also the office of her tax business, Kirkpatrick said. Investigators seized a computer and printer capable of printing the checks, along with other evidence.
Anyone with additional information should call investigations at (229) 430-6600 or Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477). The Spanish language APD-COP Tip Line is (229) 434-2677.
Crime Stoppers is an anonymous tipline. People with information could become eligible for cash rewards.