July 2, 2002 – Police are warning businesses throughout the territory to be on the lookout for forged checks and falsified identification documents by individuals seeking to negotiate them.
On Friday, Abbe Richardson, 27, and her husband, Marlon Richardson, 26, were arrested on St. Croix after they deposited a check for $25,000 at the Frederiksted branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia and another check in the same amount at the bank's Christiansted branch. They were charged with forging checks and obtaining money under false pretenses.
Deputy Police Chief Angel Santos said police obtained a warrant to search for computer evidence and other paraphernalia at the Richardsons' home, but found nothing incriminating.
Santos said there is no evidence connecting the Richardsons to the arrest of Augustin Angol, 23, of Smithfield on similar charges earlier last week.
Angol also was charged with committing forgery and obtaining money under false pretenses. Police said he used a personal computer and banking software to fabricate checks that were circulated to businesses throughout the territory. In move that police said was linked to Angol's arrest, Trudy Williams, 19, of Lorraine Village was charged with obtaining money under false pretenses. Williams cashed a check at Electric Avenue in Barren Spot.
Santos said the investigation is ongoing and advised merchants to examine closely all checks and identification documents presented. "Employees should become familiar with the various types of identification used by customers in the territory," he said. Drivers' licenses, voter registration cards and I.D. from some local employers including Hovensa and Bechtel "have been forged," he said.
He said the largest stores are particularly at risk because of the large volume of transactions handled, and that Kmart and Pueblo are among those that have been hit with forged checks. He said he recently received a call from an insurance company official on St. Thomas "who wanted to make us aware of attempts to use forged checks on that island."
"We just want you to be alert, but don't become alarmed in conducting business." Santos said. "We don't know how many people are involved, so our investigation will continue."
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