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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


KNOXVILLE, Tenn.--Yesterday, agents with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Knoxville Police Department began making arrests in a large check fraud scheme involving individuals from the Knoxville area and elsewhere. Arrested were:

Larry Seymore, 49, Atlanta, Georgia; Leonardo Williams, 29, Atlanta, Georgia; Preston Franklin Adams, 31, Conyers, Georgia; Paul W. Durnell, 21, Maryville, Tenn.;George M. Eberline, 39, Knoxville, Tenn.; Gary A. Hawkins, 42, Knoxville, Tenn.; Stevie B. Isaacs, 24, Mountain City, Tenn.; Doris Marie Parker, 47, Knoxville, Tenn.; Thomas J. Ruchti, 51, Knoxville, Tenn.; and Wade Freeman Seeber, 23, Knoxville, Tenn.

More arrests are expected.

All are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud in violation of 18 USC §§ 1344 and 1349. If convicted each faces up to 30 years in prison, up to $1,000,000 in fines and up to 5 years of supervised release. Trial is scheduled for January 19, 2011, before the Honorable Thomas W. Phillips, United States District Court Judge.

The investigation leading to these arrests was part of “Operation Check Fraud,” an initiative of the Identity Theft Task Force for the Eastern District of Tennessee designed to aggressively combat fake check and bank fraud schemes . The campaign is also designed to reach the homeless population in hopes of educating them as they are often recruited by criminal organizations to cash stolen or fraudulent checks.

This case was investigated by the Identity Theft Task Force for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which includes representatives of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, United States Attorney's Office, U.S. Secret Service, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Knox County Sheriff's Office, Knoxville Police Department, and Knox County District Attorney General's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys D. Gregory Weddle and Matthew T. Morris will represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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