8 sentenced in Georgia counterfeit check cashing ring

Georgia

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Eight defendants have been sentenced by a federal judge for their role in a counterfeit check cashing scheme.

Fredner “Fresh” Reserve was the ringleader of a small organization of individuals who deposited counterfeit checks into various banks between August and September 2019, according to a Justice Department news release.

Working with local law enforcement, Secret Service agents tied the fraud scheme to SWGB and Ameris branches in several South Georgia cities.

The checks were often deposited via ATM. The scheme was discovered by the vice president of Southwest Georgia Bank (SWGB), and they contacted the U.S. Secret Service on Sept. 6, 2019, regarding fraudulent checks that were being deposited at SWGB.

On Sept. 19, 2019, another SWGB bank employee contacted the Moultrie PD after co-defendant Khadijah Bailey, who had deposited fraudulent checks into her account at the bank attempting to withdraw cash.

Bailey was apprehended that day along with Fredner “Fresh” Reserve and another co-defendant Deborah Johnson. A search of Johnson’s car revealed more fraudulent checks and other evidence.

Erica Langley had earlier been arrested after depositing a fraudulent check and withdrawing money from her SWGB account.

The investigation also uncovered that co-defendants Bailey, Langley, Demetrius Collins, Jerry Lynn King, Jerra Carter and Frank Thomas, as well as other uncharged individuals, would either open or use existing bank accounts to deposit fraudulent checks provided by Reserve and Johnson.

Reserve admitted that he conspired with others to devise and execute a scheme to defraud financial institutions using fraudulent checks for a fraud loss between $40,000 and $95,000.

“This case is another example that clearly shows criminals are continuously looking for ways to steal from financial institutions, said Clint Bush, Resident Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Albany, Georgia Resident Office in a news release.

“This particular check cashing scheme is an unusual case for Moultrie,” said Investigator Frank Newton, Moultrie Police Department. “This investigation exemplifies the outstanding cooperation that exists between our community and law enforcement that we are able to rapidly track, identify and shut this crime down, preventing even greater harm to our local banks and ultimately our community,”

Reserve and co-defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands to the following terms of imprisonment and ordered to collectively repay almost $20,000 in loses to the banks (their individual judgements are based on the attempted amount of theft):

Fredner “Fresh” Reserve, 34, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve 31 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on March 25, 2021;

Deborah Johnson, 29, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on October 15, 2020;

Jerry Lynn King, 53, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on January 28, 2021;

Frank Thomas, 24, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to 18 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on July 8, 2021;

Demetrius Collins, 48, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on January 28, 2021;

Jerra Carter, 22, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve eight months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on March 24, 2021;

Erica Langley, 37, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on February 25, 2021; and,

Khadijah Bailey, 26, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to serve six months in prison, 90 days of which is home confinement, to be followed by three years of supervised release on July 8, 2021.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Moultrie Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McCullers prosecuted the case for the Government

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Columbus Forecast Updates

More 7 Day Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Trending Stories