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Georgia man gets 2-year sentence in counterfeit check scheme

June 14, 2022 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Georgia man was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Rhode Island to two years in prison for his role in a scheme that recruited homeless people to cash counterfeit checks at banks around New England in exchange for a small fee.

The scheme that ran from October 2018 through February 2021 cheated banks in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine out of a total of nearly $500,000, according to a statement from Zachary Cunha, the U.S. attorney for Rhode Island.

Jalen Ronald Stanford, 28, of Riverdale, Georgia, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He is one of four Georgia residents who have pleaded guilty, prosecutors said.

The fake business checks, generally in the amount of about $2,000, were made payable to homeless people who agreed to be driven to banks to cash them. In exchange, they were paid about $100 per check successfully cashed, prosecutors said.

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The scheme collapsed in February 2021 when a person recruited by the defendants entered a Providence bank and pointed out the car occupied by two of Stanford’s accomplices.

A search of a Providence home used by the suspects resulted in the seizure of a computer loaded with a program used to design and print checks, a printer, blank check stock, and an envelope containing stolen checks and about $5,000 in cash, prosecutors said.