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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Wisconsin

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chicago Man Sentenced To Three Years For Counterfeit Checks

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Johnny Carter, 36, Chicago, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to three years in prison for making and passing counterfeit checks, to be followed by three years of supervised release.   Carter was ordered to pay $18,389.06 in restitution.  Carter pleaded guilty to this charge on December 13, 2013.

Carter and his co-defendant, Gerald Ogburn, traveled to Madison in August 2009 to recruit people to cash counterfeit checks at local Walmart stores.  Carter and Ogburn set up the counterfeit check operation in a hotel room, with a computer and printer to create the checks.  They sought out low-income young women and asked them if they would be willing to cash checks at Walmart in exchange for a few hundred dollars. 

They obtained the personal information of the recruits and used it to print fake payroll checks purporting to have been issued by actual companies.  Carter and Ogburn typically drove the recruit to Walmart, watched as the recruit went into the store and cashed the check, and then met the recruit in the parking lot to split the proceeds. 

They would ask the recruit to find other check cashers, often providing a finder's fee.  Over the course of four days, Carter and Ogburn recruited approximately 21 people to cash 21 checks, each in an amount between $700 and $1,000.  Losses to Walmart exceeded $18,000.   

A Madison Police Department detective was able to disrupt the operation, prompting Carter and Ogburn to pack up and leave town quickly.  The detective tracked down most of the check cashers, most of whom picked Carter and Ogburn out of photographic lineups. 

After the indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in June 2013, attempts to locate Carter in Chicago were unsuccessful.  A deputy U.S. Marshal tracked down known associates of Carter, eventually finding Carter living in Minnesota under an assumed identity in October 2013. 

Carter’s co-defendant, Gerald Ogburn, was arrested in Chicago in October 2013, pleaded guilty to making and passing counterfeit checks on January 30, 2014, and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 2, 2014. 

The charges against Carter and Ogburn were the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison Police Department.  The apprehension of Carter was due to the investigative efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Burke.

Updated July 14, 2015