SPRINGDALE (KFSM) ~ Eight more people are behind bars in what authorities say is a check-forgery scheme in Northwest Arkansas.
“We get these reports all the time,” said Lt. Derek Hudson, the Springdale Police PIO.
Springdale Police, and the Secret Service, broke up a check-washing ring this week in Springdale, a home on McKinney Street.
“We had gotten a lot of reports of stolen checks, and a lot of reports of forged checks,” Lt. Hudson said.
Police say more than $20,000 was stolen by suspects. They say forgers were stealing checks out of mailboxes, altering the checks, and cashing them at banks for hundreds of dollars.
Authorities say another 6 suspects arrested last month are thought to be part of the crime ring as well.
Police say more arrests may be coming.
“Last time I talked to the detective division, they’re still working the case, and they told me that more arrests are possible,” Lt. Hudson said.
Police say those who steal the checks alter the payment amount on the original checks, while also re-writing their identity in the pay-to section.
“What it does is it takes the ink off of the check, leaves everything else intact,” Lt. Hudson said. “But, where you you’ve written with a pen, it will pull that off of there.”
Police say many of these checks were taken directly from victim’s mailboxes at their homes, and even some were stolen from P.O. Boxes.
“What they’re doing is they’re going around to people’s mail boxes, and they’re stealing the mail out, and they’re finding checks where they’ve already been made out to someone,” Lt. Hudson said.
Springdale Police suggest those who write checks and send them in the mail should drop them off in secured post office mail boxes, or better yet, take it inside the post office itself.
Records show one suspect told authorities that he passed more than 60 altered checks between May and June.
Police say that this happens all across the country, and even around cities in Northwest Arkansas.
“You may have cases in Fayetteville, cases in rogers, cases out in the county,” Lt. Hudson said.
According to court documents, one suspect says each forged check brought in $400 to $800 for the criminal ring.