Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Up To 130 People Believed Involved In Anchorage Check-Cashing Scam

While a trio of con artists have been identified as the ringleaders in a scheme to swindle Anchorage businesses out of thousands of dollars by paying strangers to cash fake payroll checks, up to 130 people total could be involved, Anchorage police and Alaska State Troopers say. Primary report from the Anchorage Daily News, supplemented by additional reports from KTUU Channel 2 and KTVA Channel 11.

One of the trio, Monique "Nick" Henderson, 33, was arrested last week and faces 84 counts, including scheming to defraud, theft, forgery and solicitation to commit a crime. Rashad Arnsworth, 28, and Tuisheka Hughes, 26, are both wanted on similar charges, police and trooper investigators said at a press briefing Monday. The three ran a huge check-fraud ring, generating and cashing fake paychecks from 44 businesses totalling close to $120,000, investigators said. A total of 130 people are believed to be part of this scheme.

The Anchorage Police Department, Alaska State Troopers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Postal Service were involved in the investigation that started in 2005. Twenty-three other people have already been arrested in association with this scheme, and authorities expect that some will trstify against the ringleaders.

Henderson, Hughes and Arnsworth ran the scheme with the help of strangers willing to take money in exchange for cashing bad checks or making copies of their paychecks, investigators said.

The operation worked like this: First, the ringleaders paid someone, often $100, for a of copy their payroll check. Then they used the copy, check paper stock and the office payroll software to make a new bad check. To allay suspicion, the bad checks often had the name of one business and the account number of another. Finally, the three would meet strangers in stores, at bus stops and on the street and pay them to cash the checks. They'd put the stranger's name on the check and drive them to a store or check-cashing business to do the transaction. Those who enlisted others to take part in the scheme would be given bonuses, as high as $100.

All three of the accused have criminal records. Arnsworth is on probation, after serving time for conspiracy, bank fraud and witness tampering in 2003. Henderson's record includes two assault charges, and Hughes has been arrested for driving while intoxicated and prostitution.

The investigators were tipped off by the businesses whose names or account numbers were on the fake checks and by check-cashers . In one case, one of the owners of Alaska Check Cashing on Fifth Avenue became suspicious when several people came to cash checks in the same car, according to court documents.

The trio stayed away from banks and relied on check-cashing places and stores, especially Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer, Logan said. The larger stores have a lot of checks and have more staff with less training handling the transactions, making them easier targets, she said.

Investigators also searched residences and hotel rooms where the ringleaders stayed, turning up computer equipment, drug paraphernalia and evidence of high-end purchases, including fancy wheels for cars and a large-screen television.

Some of the more prominent local businesses targeted include Sagaya Corporation, Nine Star Enterprises, the Anchorage Daily News, Geneva Woods Pharmacy, Johnson's Tire Service, and the State Department of Corrections. [Ed. Note: The last victim will undoubtedly be in a position to exact some additional "justice" shortly. These three will NOT do easy time at Spring Creek]

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Rashad Arnsworth and Tuisheka Hughes, or who can provide additional information about this crime is asked to call their local law enforcement. The Anchorage Police Department non-emergency phone number is 907-786-8900.

I don't think this is the type of "black history" that the NAACP likes to talk about.

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1 comment:

  1. Another bunch of negro's finding a way not to work... Guess the welfare check wasn't enough..