Check Scam Busted

Check Scam Busted
By: CJ Cassidy

Union County, IL -P

olice call it a far-reaching scam that spanned
f
our states.

N
ow four suspects from Cairo face felony conspiracy charges
, a
nd that's just the beginning.

Investigators say their lucky break came when the suspects
ran up against a customer service representative at a
S
outhern
I
llinois
B
ank.

S
he says she couldn't wait to put them away after she recognized them
;
now, we're protecting her identity so she can share her story with us.

"I

definitely wanted to catch these individuals
it's
been such a sore subject for me
," the bank employee says.

It's a
sore topic because employees at the
F
irst
N
ational
B
ank of
J
onesboro in
A
nna, believe they were targeted by the same crooks before.

"T
hey visited here before and
the
bank has policies to help slow down criminals like this once they're put in place they're pretty well caught
," the employee explained.

U
nion
C
ounty
S
tates
A
ttorney
A
llen
J
ames says the ring consists of four people
,
M
onica
N
icholson,
T
erry
L
eonard and
S
teven and
E
ric
L
ockett.

T
he four suspects are believed to be cousins
,
and part of a larger ring that includes even more cousins.

"T
hey have been taking checks either stolen or manufactured or otherwise and apparently opening an account in a bank
,
then immediately closing that account once they've obtained checks for that account then they write checks on that account
," James says.

I
nvestigators say the checks could add up to thousands of dollars
,
and were passed in
S
outhern
I
llinois,
S
outheast
M
issouri,
W
estern
K
entucky and
S
outhern
I
ndiana.

B
ut
J
ames says the suspects' luck ran out when they encountered that alert bank employee who called police
,
and better yet
,
it's all on surveillance tape.

"H
e had a check
, so I
asked him to come deposit it with the teller so we could get a little bit of a face shot on him
," the employee says, adding she only hopes other employees would have done the same.

P

olice say their investigation is far from over
,
and prosecutors say there could be many more charges pending against the four suspects.

A
llen
J
ames has also called the
I
llinois
A
ttorney
G
eneral to see if she might take on the case because of all the states involved.