Friday, June 25, 2004

Check fraud stole $74K

Arrests include postal workers

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A ring involving nine women used stolen bank statements to print counterfeit checks that were cashed or used to buy items and gift cards totaling $74,000, authorities said.

Three women have admitted to participating in the ring and six others should be charged within two months, including two former postal workers who took the statements while handling mail at a post office, Postal Inspector Kevin McCafferty said Thursday.

In all, the accounts of 38 women were used to write bogus checks, printed on a home computer, at stores in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton from June 2001 to December 2002, he said. The victims have gotten their money back.

The ring would run up $2,000 to $3,000 in charges on an account and then move to another one, he said.

Ring members also used driver's license numbers and other identifying information on canceled checks to create false driver's licenses and identification cards, McCafferty said. The fake IDs generally were used to cash false checks. The IDs also were used to obtain instant credit.

Two sisters, Nyteria Green, 24, and Paula Green, 30, pleaded guilty in federal court last year to a charge of conspiracy to steal mail.

McCafferty said the Greens would get a percentage of the checks they cashed and give gift cards and money for higher-ranking ring members.

Nyteria Green is serving a sentence of one year and nine months and Paula Green had a four-month sentence. Paula Green also has been ordered to pay restitution of $2,568.

A third person, Shatiya Newsome, 22, pleaded guilty last week and is awaiting sentencing.

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