News and Press Releases

nixa man sentenced to 18 years for counterfeit check, mail theft, identity theft conspiracy

August 1, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Nixa, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for participating in a conspiracy to create and cash more than $134,000 in counterfeit checks in a three-state area. The scheme involved stealing mail from businesses in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma in order to create counterfeit business checks, then using stolen identities to cash the counterfeit checks.

Derrick Haggard, also known as ADisco,@ 34, of Nixa, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, to 18 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Haggard to pay $76,295 in restitution.

On Jan. 13, 2012, Haggard was convicted at trial of all 27 counts charging him with leading a conspiracy to commit bank fraud, create and cash counterfeit checks and steal mail from July 1 to Oct. 25, 2010.

During the time of the conspiracy, the group was successfully able to pass $61,335 in counterfeit checks at financial institutions in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The group unsuccessfully attempted to pass an additional $73,111 in counterfeit checks.

Co-defendant Dietrich Haggard, also known as AD-Ball,@ 31, of St. Robert, Mo., was also sentenced yesterday to three years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to his role in the conspiracy. Co-defendant Zachary Skinner, 24, of Springfield, Mo., was also sentenced yesterday to 17 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to his role in the conspiracy.

Co-defendant Lisa Strait-Destefano, 39, of Nixa, also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. Paul Douglas, Jr., 44, of Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $35,601 in restitution. Christopher Quale, 26, of Saint Robert, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $6,618 in restitution.

Strait-Destefano and Derrick Haggard led the conspiracy to create counterfeit checks using original checks and other material that the group stole from private mailboxes in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Derrick Haggard recruited individuals, including Dietrich Haggard, to steal mail from private mailboxes.

Dietrich Haggard, along with others associated with the scheme, primarily stole mail from business locations, looking for mail which contained original checks so that the original checks could be counterfeited. They provided those checks to Derrick Haggard and Strait-Destefano, who created the counterfeit checks.

Derrick Haggard recruited persons, including Douglas, Quale and Skinner, to take the counterfeit checks to financial institutions or commercial establishments and attempt to cash them. Strait-Destefano directed Derrick Haggard and others as to which businesses to approach, based upon her experiences in the banking industry. Strait-Destefano and Derrick Haggard provided the check passers with false identification documents, which used the identity of real persons without their permission to match the names placed on the counterfeit checks.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the police departments of Springfield, Branson, Hollister, St. Robert, Carthage, Nixa, Troy, Strafford, Union, Washington, Linn, Lebanon, and Neosho in Missouri, the Tulsa, Okla., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Christian County, Mo., Sheriff=s Department, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff=s Department, the Fayetteville, Ark., Police Department, the Arkansas State Police, and the Crawford County, Kan., Sheriff=s Department

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