Check fraud ring tries Madison again
Alert teller, customer thwart men’s attempt to pass fraudulent checks
By Patrick Yost
A fraudulent check cashing ring hit Madison once again but this time an alert bank clerk and business owner thwarted the attempt and aided officers in arresting the perpetrators.
Madison police arrested Jerome Ancil Williams, Jr., 34, Lithonia and Keith Generette, 52, Stone Mountain, in the lobby of United Bank after they had been alerted by a bank clerk and a customer that the two men were attempting to pass two checks totaling nearly $2,000 on the customer’s account.
According to reports, the scheme began when someone entered Phelps Welding on Thursday, January 15 and stole a money box that contained some cash and numerous checks from clients. Phelps Welding owner, Gary Phelps, reports state, contacted the clients and told them of the thefts and suggested they stop payment on the items.
Ironically, one of the clients, Robert Jones, was at United Bank on Saturday, January 17 closing the account, Williams and Generette entered the bank and attempted to cash the checks. A clerk at the bank recognized Jones account number and noticed that the checks were printed and of a different design. She noted that Jones normally hand writes his checks. She alerted Jones, reports state, and Jones recognized the checks were fraudulent and directed bank officials to contact police.
Both men were arrested in the lobby without incident, reports state.
This is at least the second time a similar fraudulent check writing ring has attempted to pass checks in Madison.
According to Det. Carl Jones, City of Madison Police Department, three men were arrested November 6, 2008 in the lobby of the Bank of Madison attempting to cash more than $24,000 worth of fraudulent checks written to the account of the Madison–Morgan Cultural Center. That arrest came after other suspects had successfully cashed more than $34,000 on the Cultural Center’s account. Last week those three suspects pled guilty and were sentenced in Morgan County Superior Court.
Douglas K. Jones, 42, Atlanta and Andre Dion Jackson, 38, Atlanta, both received six year prison terms after pleading guilty to forgery in the first degree.
According to indictments against the men Jones was charged with attempting to cash a $8,741.33 check manufactured with the Cultural Center’s account number. Jackson was charged with attempting to cash a $9,253.14 check manufactured with the Cultural Center’s account number.
Alfred C. Stanley, 38, Atlanta, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with four years to serve and the remainder to be served on probation for attempting to cash a $7,789.62 check manufactured with the Cultural Center’s account number. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Jones said intelligence from Atlanta law enforcement agencies indicates that the men actually cashing the checks are normally itinerant workers or day laborers recruited if they have valid identification and used by others to cash the fraudulent checks.
Account numbers are gathered from stolen checks, Jones said, and used to manufacture fake checks with valid account numbers.
The checks are then presented directly to the issuing bank, often in small towns, and cashed.
Published in the January 22, 2009 edition.