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Press Release

Serial Fraudster Sentenced for Counterfeit Check Scheme

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A transient man who formerly resided in various hotels across Virginia was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for defrauding a financial institution and possessing counterfeit business checks. 

According to court documents, Michael Culpeper, 44, defrauded financial institutions and other businesses by creating and using counterfeit checks to obtain U.S. currency and buy goods and services. Culpeper has an extensive criminal history, encompassing numerous prior felony convictions, most of which involve similar conduct.

In January 2015, Culpeper rented a hotel room owned and operated by a Roanoke business. At the end of the rental period, the hotel refunded his security deposit with a check drawn on its business account. Culpeper subsequently used the names, addresses, and bank information from this refund check to create counterfeit and fraudulent checks. Between November 2015 and January 2017, Culpeper negotiated these counterfeit checks at least 16 times. At the time of his arrest, he had 141 more counterfeit checks.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick and D. Mack Coleman prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:17-cr-44.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated December 11, 2020

Financial Fraud