Duval County Man Pleads Guilty To Aiding And Abetting Counterfeit Check Fraud
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Terrance Smith (39, Jacksonville) today pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting the passing or attempted passing of counterfeit checks. He faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison on each count. Smith is also on federal supervised release for conspiracy to pass fictitious financial instruments. He faces up to 2 years in federal prison for the supervised release violation.
According to the plea agreement, in or about October 2013, Terrance Smith and others began distributing counterfeit business checks that used the business checking account number of a church located in Jacksonville. After locating various individuals to pass the counterfeit business checks, Smith would then provide transportation to the individuals for the purpose of passing the counterfeit checks. Upon arriving at a business that cashed checks, Smith or his co-defendant, Shameka Robinson, would give the counterfeit check to the passer. Smith would come back to the business, or a predetermined location near the business, and pick up the passer. The passer would hand the money directly to Smith or to Robinson. Smith would pay each passer whom successfully cashed a counterfeit check.
On November 13, 2013, law enforcement officers set up surveillance in a trailer park based on credible information that an individual, ultimately identified as Smith, would be coming there to pick up individuals for the purpose of passing counterfeit checks. Smith and Robinson subsequently drove into the trailer park in order to pick up individuals. Upon entering the park, Smith observed law enforcement and began turning in order to exit. As he left the area, Smith began tearing up counterfeit checks. Law enforcement conducted a lawful investigative stop on Smith's vehicle and observed an open plastic grocery bag containing counterfeit check stubs purportedly from payroll checks. Officers also located counterfeit check stubs and torn up counterfeit checks inside the vehicle. Inside of Robinson’s purse, officers located additional counterfeit business checks.
In total, law enforcement officials connected Smith and Robinson to twenty-five counterfeit business checks passed or attempted to be passed in Jacksonville. Robinson pleaded guilty on July 1, 2014 to aiding and abetting the passing or attempted passing of counterfeit checks. She is scheduled to be sentenced on September 30, 2014. Robinson faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the North Florida Financial Crimes Task Force, the United States Secret Service, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein.