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Georgia man pleads guilty in counterfeit check scheme

July 7, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme that recruited homeless people to cash counterfeit checks in several New England states in exchange for a small cash payment, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Michael Williams, 26, of East Point, Georgia, pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

Williams and three alleged accomplices attempted to cash about $678,000 worth of counterfeit checks in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine, causing banks to lose almost $500,000, authorities said.

Once a person agreed to cash a check, Williams and his codefendants would create a counterfeit check in the amount of about $2,000 made payable to that person and drive them to a bank. In exchange, the recruited person was paid about $100, prosecutors said.

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The scheme came undone in February when a person recruited by Williams and one of his accomplices entered a Providence bank and pointed out their car.

A search of a Providence home used by the suspects resulted in the seizure of a computer loaded with a program used to design and print checks, a printer, blank check stock, and an envelope containing stolen checks and about $5,000 in cash.

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 21.

His alleged accomplices, all from Georgia, are awaiting trial.