THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - United State Secret Service Agents are trying to track down the leaders of a check forging ring that hit banks throughout south Georgia. Forgeries took place at banks in Thomasville, Leesburg, Albany, and Valdosta. In at least some of the cases, ringleaders hired homeless people to cash forged checks.
On Friday April 29th four men pretended to be legitimate customers at two Thomasville National Bank Branches. But the checks Bee Joseph, Carl Walker, Jeffrey Sanders, and Ricky Rumph tried to cash were forged.
The first call came from the main office on North Broad Street. "Approximately 11 minutes later we received another call from the branch office located on Remington Avenue about a similar transaction attempting to be made at that bank," said TPD Lt. Eric Hampton.
The Secret Service is looking into other forgery attempts. Their agents declined to comment on the investigation because it is ongoing. However, Thomasville detectives say the forgery ring appears to be working from Atlanta. As we reported last week, they hired men from a soup kitchen in Valdosta and took them to banks in several south Georgia cities to cash forged checks.
Hampton says TPD is still looking for other suspects locally. "We are still pursuing others who may be involved in this be it the get away drivers or others who may have been actually participating in the forgeries themselves."
Hampton says Thomasville National Bank employees did everything they could to prevent the suspects from getting away. "Bank personnel did attempt to apprehend one subject on foot, which they did not, however they were able to detain another gentlemen there at the bank."
Another suspect was arrested on site at the Remington branch. The other two were picked up just minutes later. "One at the Harvey's Supermarket on Smith Avenue and also at Arby's restaurant at East Pinetree Boulevard," said Hampton.
All of the forged checks have been on personal checking accounts. Checks for more than $12,000 were recovered from suspects or at the banks when they were not cashed.
The four men arrested in Thomasville were charged with check fraud. We will continue to follow the Secret Service investigation.
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