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Press Release

Three Fresno Residents Indicted as Part of a Counterfeit Check Cashing Ring

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — An eight-count indictment, returned on Oct. 20, 2022, has been unsealed, charging Fresno residents Jeffrey Michalk, 43; Steve Gomez, 40; and Michael Dugan, 48, with conspiracy, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, from June 2020 through at least January 2022, the defendants worked together to cash counterfeit U.S. Treasury checks throughout the Central Valley. These checks were cashed at various locations and were often written to appear to be in the names of other individuals. The defendants combined to cash or cause to be cashed at least 295 counterfeit Treasury Checks worth over $500,000 during this window.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandre Dempsey is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge, a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the theft of money charge, and a mandatory minimum consecutive two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charges. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated October 27, 2022

Financial Fraud