12 Feb

Fake checks containing real account numbers paired with names other than the owners on the accounts were used to fraudulently obtain more than $100,000 according to the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office. Three men have been charged in the counterfeiting scheme and are facing an indictment on federal fraud charges.

According to police, the counterfeit check-cashing scheme affected as many as 50 people and area businesses. The fraud scheme crossed two states and at least nine counties. The three men have been charged with bank fraud, conspiracy and aiding and abetting.

The fraud scheme started when one of the three men stole account information from a food distribution company where he worked. The three then used the information to create counterfeit checks that they used in North and South Carolina.

The Secret Service arrested Micah Bolton, Roger Melchor and Andra Barnes for the federal fraud crimes. The three men have been indicted on federal fraud charges.

The federal criminal process differs from the North Carolina criminal process. The three men will be arraigned and will likely try to work out a plea deal with federal prosecutors. If no deal is reached, or if the deal includes testifying against one another, the case could be set for three separate trials to determine who is guilty of what related to the counterfeiting crimes.

Once a guilty plea is entered or a judge or jury convicts an individual of at least one federal criminal charge, he or she is then scheduled for a separate sentencing hearing.

Source: WSOCTV, “3 arrested by Secret Service face federal charges, officers say,” February 11, 2013