Although day-to-day use of checks seems to have gone out of style long ago, those paper rectangles recently spawned the arrest of three men. Serious charges were filed against three Connecticut men in connection with allegedly using those checks to receive large payouts. If convicted, they could face up to a 30 year prison sentence.
The three men are accused of altering stolen checks to name their runners as the payees. They would then drive their runners to various banks and send them inside to cash the fake checks. Once cashed, the men purportedly paid their runners from the money that they had just received.
Police say that the scheme ran for two years, and over $100,000 in altered checks are alleged to have been cashed. After their arrest, they were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to commit bank fraud. If convicted, they could each face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, in addition to a hefty fine.
The scheme was investigated by several different agencies, including police forces across the state and the Connecticut Financial Fraud Task Force. Although an indictment might appear to indicate guilt to some, it simply indicates that formal -- and as yet unproved -- accusations have been made. The men involved are still presumed innocent under the law, and it is up to the prosecution to prove the guilt of each individual beyond a reasonable doubt. Though they appear to be facing serious charges, the men involved will likely carefully review the prosecution's evidence along with their defense counsel before deciding the best course of action for proceeding forward.
Source: New Haven Register, "Feds: New Haven men indicted in stolen check cashing scheme", , May 14, 2014