VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Five Valdosta residents entered guilty pleas in Federal Court for stealing mail, altering checks and cashing them, to the tune of between $40,000 and $95,000 in 2016.
U. S. Attorney Pete Peterman said in a release that Kedrick Antwan Williams, 31, Zerrick Devon Tompkins, 31, Jerry Lewis Rawls, Jr., 44, Willie James Smith, 64, and Gregory Willie Harris, 46, all of Valdosta, entered pleas of guilty before Judge Hugh Lawson for conspiring to steal and to possess stolen mail.
"This case involved a classic organized check cashing ring, with some members stealing checks, others altering the payees and the amounts, and others negotiating the altered instruments. The many victims in the South Georgia area included numerous businesses and individuals. It is a shame that with all the ingenuity and effort these criminals invested in this illegal scheme, they did not choose to earn an honest dollar instead, which they were clearly smart and resourceful enough to have done," said United States Attorney Peterman.
The case was investigated by the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, the Valdosta Police Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Service. Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. McCullers prosecuted the case.
The men agreed to pay restitution of more than $14,000 to five banks and one business, based on checks that were actually negotiated.
Sentencing is scheduled for all defendants on January 10, 2018 in Valdosta.
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