Homeless men charged with cashing bad checks - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Homeless men charged with cashing bad checks

WILCOX CO., GA (WALB) - Investigators think crooks are targeting small, south Georgia banks, and they want to warn you.

Two Atlanta men cashed bad checks at at least 2 different banks in Perry and Pineview. The $1,400 checks fall in the misdemeanor range, but investigators are still after them.

Cashing checks and counting money are two things bank tellers do on a daily basis, and most of the time, those checks are real.

That is until a man walked up to the drive through window Planters First Bank in Pineview back in March.

"Check was legitimate we thought. The account was, and he had his ID and everything so we cashed the check," said branch President Joey Bloodworth.

Things got fishy when a second, unfamiliar man came in to the bank five minutes later with a similar looking check.

"They can make these checks with their printers they have now a days they make them, they look just like the ones that are legitimate," said Bloodworth.

Investigators said Taiska Troutman and Michael Purter are the two men who brought forged checks into this bank.

Surveillance photos show two similar looking men at a branch in Perry.

"These guys are staying at homeless shelters in Atlanta, and people come in the morning time, asking them who wants to work, if they got an identification on them, they'll take them to a location; they'll cut some checks using those names," said Investigator Mauldin.

Fingerprints and an ID card led police to them. The men were just arrested this week on the forgery charges. Neither of them are able to identify the people they said paid them to cash the bogus checks.

"Banks are out of $1,400 when they do this so we're going to find them and prosecute them to the full extent even though it is a misdemeanor," said Investigator Mauldin.

Bloodworth encourages other banks to call customers if large checks come through their bank.

"They'll hit a small office or even a large office," said Bloodworth.

And that's a headache no one wants to have. Investigators believe these forgers intentionally make the checks out for less than $1,500 because that makes it a misdemeanor offense.

Purter remains in the Wilcox County jail. Troutman bonded out of jail already.

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