Counterfeit ring started with burglary - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Counterfeit ring started with burglary

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

BLAKELY, GA (WALB) - A Counterfeit ring is hitting south georgia businesses hard putting them out thousands of dollars.

Investigators say the problem started with a burglary in Early county where thieves stole two books of checks.

Now not only are the criminals cashing those checks they're making counterfeit checks and using them too.

You're looking at two suspects in a counterfeit ring investigators say is ripping off business across south georgia.

And it all started, with a burglary.

"February 2nd at Southeast Forestry, a burglary occured in Damascus where a book of checks was taken from the business," says Investigator  J.D. Murkerson with the Early County Sheriff's Office.

And the checks stolen were linked to closed bank accounts. Businesses that cashed the checks are now out thousands of dollars.

"First ones showed up in Valdosta, then spread to Bainbridge, Donalsonville, Tifton, and even Griffen south of Atlanta.

And just this week, five Blakely businesses were hit.

"What we think they're doing is pulling up to anybody on the street, offering them 20 to 100 dollars asking them to cash these checks and people are doing it," says investigator J.D. Murkerson

The man and woman you see in this survelience video and this white F150 truck, most likely an '04 to '08 model, are the only consistanties in the dozens of conterfeit cases.

But then last week, a woman identified as Penny Newsome of Lakeland was caught cashing a check with another woman in Donalsonville. Driving the same pickup truck seen here.

And it gets worse.

"They have some type of machine or computer in the vehicle and they're even counterfiting the checks now," says investigator Murkerson.

So if somone trys to cash a check with the name, Southeast Forestry or Southeast Lumber, don't do it. Instead, call law enforcement.

Investigators say they many others could be involved in the ring.  But right now any information on the suspects and their whereabouts will help. Feedback


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