ALBANY, Ga. (WRBL) – An Atlanta resident pled guilty to participating in a check-cashing scheme that targeted Publix grocery stores in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. He was placed in federal custody on Thursday.
On June 23, Brandon Lamont Bell, 37, pled guilty to possessing counterfeit and unauthorized devices. Bell faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Bell was placed in federal custody on Thursday after a petition for action on conditions of pretrial release hearing before U.S. District Judge Louis Sands. Bell’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 29.
According to court records, Georgia State Patrol and the Tifton Police Department officers conducted a road check at the I-75 Northbound Exit 61 ramp in Tifton, Georgia.
During interacting with Bell at the road check Bell and other individuals in the vehicle, and following an investigation by the United States Secret Service, agents uncovered a check-cashing plan that targeted Publix in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida involving Bell and other co-defendants.
Agents discovered 114 fictitious checks with 19 bank account routing numbers, a printer, electric cords, nine fake IDs, and 18 Visa gift cards. Bell confessed to possessing the items intending to defraud over 15 counterfeit and unauthorized devices.
The United States Secret Service, the Georgia State Patrol, and the Tifton Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonja Profit is prosecuting the case.