Four Arrested in Check Cashing Scam - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Four Arrested in Check Cashing Scam

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Anthony T. Peterson Anthony T. Peterson
Michael Edward Blalock Michael Edward Blalock
Claude Derick Campbell Claude Derick Campbell
Steven Darcy Beard Steven Darcy Beard

DEKALB COUNTY (WRCB) -- North Alabama authorities say they busted four men from Atlanta who tried to cash phony checks at local banks.

 Dekalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris says checks were presented as payroll from a local business.  Bank officials notified Fyffe Police about concerns they had with the checks which were of very good quality and passed initial security measures.  Fyffe Police held the four men  while DeKalb County Sheriff's investigators worked to learn more about the checks. 

 They found out the checks were forged and given to the four men to cash for a fee.  Under questioning, detectives learned from the four men this was part of a large-scale operation based in Atlanta.  All four men are charged with Possession of a Forged Instrument 2nd Degree, which is a felony.  Arrested were:

  • Claude Derick Campbell, 36
  • Steven Darcy Beard, 49
  • Michael Edward Blalock, 51
  • Anthony T. Peterson, 45

All four remain in the DeKalb County Detention Center. 

Further investigation revealed the operation has also hit banks in Tennessee and Georgia.  The operation uses mostly Black males who have construction skills but are homeless.  They are picked up as day laborers.  Many are willing to take the risk because they are homeless.  These individuals were given clothing and work items such as hard hats and reflective vests to make them appear to be workers cashing payroll checks. 

All use a photo ID to cash the checks so bank officials need to make sure the accounts are valid and the checks are legitimate.  If suspicions are raised, you should contact authorities.  Investigators say so far over $17,000 has been lost to the scam in the past week.  The checks recovered in these arrests totaled $27,515.08.  

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