News

In Joint Operation, United States Secret Service and
United States Attorney's Office Charge
68 People with Counterfeit Check Charges

Defendants Charged In Federal Criminal Complaints

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 21, 2013

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA -- Nearly 70 people, most of them residents of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, have been or will be arrested during a sweeping joint operation headed by the United States Secret Service and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.

Beginning the morning of February 20 and continuing through February 21, agents with the Secret Service, US Marshal’s Service and Washington County Sheriff’s Office will make 68 total arrests throughout the region.

Each of the 68 defendants have been charged in Federal criminal complaints with a single count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to defraud, false and fictitious checks appearing and purporting to be actual financial instruments issued under the authority of an organization.

“Today’s arrests are the product of a long running, multi-agency investigation into counterfeit check cashing in our district,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “The Secret Service has done an incredible job supervising this investigation with the assistance of other agencies. The law enforcement collaboration in this matter has made possible the numerous and significant charges faced by these defendants.”

“This case is an example of how, by working together, law enforcement at the local and federal level can make our communities safer and stronger. The Secret Service truly believes in this partnership approach to law enforcement, especially when we can combine our resources to make a significant impact and fight these financial crimes in the communities where we live,” said William Frantzen, Special Agent in Charge for the United States Secret Service’s Richmond Division.

An affidavit attached to the criminal complaint claims the 68 defendants charged this week were part of a conspiracy that attempted to cash fraudulent checks at various retails locations throughout Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. The defendants are charged with presenting fraudulent Comdata Comchecks claiming to be issued by local trucking companies.

The investigation of the case is being conducted by the United States Secret Service, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Marshal’s Service, the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Sullivan County Tennessee Police Department and the Kingsport Tennessee Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer will prosecute the case for the United States.

A criminal Complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

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