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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 18, 2015

Serial Counterfeit Check Fraudster Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

ROME, Ga. - Taurus Centaur has been sentenced to six years in prison for engaging in a counterfeit check scheme through which he purchased thousands of dollars in jewelry and consumer goods with counterfeit checks.

“The defendant traveled from state to state, using a stolen identity to pass bad checks to purchase luxury items,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “This case serves as a reminder that in this day of sophisticated cybercrime and Internet-based identity theft, there are still traditional, paper-using fraudsters and counterfeiters who prey on unsuspecting citizens and businesses.”

“This case validates the impact of identity theft and check fraud on our communities.  Today’s sentence should serve as a reminder that criminals will not get away with taking advantage of unsuspecting victims without bearing the consequences,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: From October 2011 until April 2014, Centaur traveled in states along the East coast of the United States—Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey—purchasing jewelry and other consumer goods with counterfeit checks and, in some instances, pawning the purchased items for cash.

In executing this scheme, Centaur assumed the identity of an individual in custody with the Virginia Department of Corrections and presented checks bearing that individual’s name at various stores.  To assume the name, Centaur forged a “Release Certificate” in the name of the prisoner, used that forged document to obtain a legitimate copy of the prisoner’s birth certificate from the Maryland Division of Vital Records, and then used that birth certificate to request a Social Security card in the name of the prisoner.

Centaur’s spending spree came to an end on April 12, 2014, when he was arrested by the Cartersville, Georgia, Police Department during a traffic stop related to active warrants for his arrest.  Inside Centaur’s vehicle, law enforcement found, among other things: a check embossing machine, a typewriter, and counterfeit cashier’s checks.

Taurus Centaur, 48, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six years and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $172,465.10.  He was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, and the court imposed special conditions of supervised release, including that Centaur may not possess any device-making materials which could be used to manufacture counterfeit instruments, such as computers and printers, without permission of the United States Probation Officer.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.

Assistant United States Attorney Samir Kaushal prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Rome Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated May 18, 2015