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Crime & Courts

Sycamore police charge suspects in check fraud scheme

SYCAMORE – Police said two North Carolina men charged Monday with forgery appear to be part of a larger fraud operation.

Sycamore police Sgt. Rod Swartzendruber said National Bank & Trust in downtown Sycamore notified police Monday of a woman trying to cash a suspicious check. It was a DeKalb Park District check made out to a Satrina Rebecca Fee for $1,800.

The woman, Elissa M. Perry Young, 34, of the 4700 block of Munsee Street in Charlotte, N.C., was stopped by police a block away from the bank.

Police then located Jarvis Z. Wright, 31, of the 4200 block of West Cliff Drive in Charlotte, and Damien L. Little, 27, of the 11000 block of Norkett Drive in Charlotte, who had dropped Perry Young off at the bank.

Swartzendruber said police searched their car and found evidence that they were involved in a wider operation.

The check Perry Young tried to cash was issued by the DeKalb Park District, but the payee and the amount of the check had been changed, Swartzendruber said. Perry Young also had a fake ID card from Ohio in the name of Satrina Rebecca Fee.

Similar business checks were found when police searched the vehicle the three were using.

“It appears that their intent was to alter those checks,” Swartzendruber said.

Perry Young seems to have been a pawn in the scam, he said. The men picked her up in North Carolina and offered her the opportunity to cash the check.

The incident is similar, although not necessarily related, to a fraudulent check situation police dealt with three weeks ago, when people attempted to cash counterfeit checks at NB&T locations in Sycamore and DeKalb.

In one situation, two men picked up a homeless man in Milwaukee and took him to the banks to cash the checks, which were purportedly issued by the DeKalb County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

The man, Thomas T. Murray, 39, of Milwaukee, successfully cashed two checks Sept. 19. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, Swartzendruber said.

“It appears that this is a very large-scale operation known across the U.S. by federal law enforcement,” he said.

When they appeared in court Tuesday via closed-circuit TV from the DeKalb County Jail, Perry Young, Wright and Little were each charged with forgery. If convicted, each faces up to five years in prison. Bond was set at $75,000 for each of the three.

The public defender’s office was appointed to represent Perry Young, who will appear in court again Oct. 30.

Wright and Little will be in court again today, as they each face an additional 28 counts of forgery based on the other checks found in their car, Swartzendruber said. Bond on those charges was set at $150,000 each.

Sycamore police are working with other law enforcement agencies on the investigation because other jurisdictions are involved, he said.

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