Thursday, February 14, 2008
Forgery operation busted
By SUE WATSON
Two people with Tennessee addresses were arrested Friday in Holly Springs and charged with conspiracy to produce forged and counterfeited checks at stores.
Jama C. Phillips, 29, of 2247 Rainridge Road in Churchill, Tenn., and Amy Marie Hamilton, 37, of 257 Carter Street in Bluff City, Tenn., were arrested at Wal-Mart by four officers with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, said Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
Both remained in jail Tuesday on $40,000 bond.
Dickerson said his office received a call from the Wal-Mart in New Albany that an employee with the loss prevention department had discovered three forged checks were used to buy up to about $1,500 in merchandise. The employee said he had the tag number of the suspect vehicle and asked Marshall County Sheriff’s Department to be on the lookout.
“He told us they left Wal-Mart and were headed west on U.S. 78,” the sheriff said.
Soon thereafter the sheriff’s department received a call from the local Wal-Mart saying the two subjects who presented forged checks in the New Albany store were in Holly Springs.
“The female came in the store and was trying to exchange the property from the New Albany store for money. The male subject remained in the car,” Dickerson said.
While Wal-Mart employees were accepting the returned goods, investigators and narcotics officers with the sheriff’s department moved to the area parking lots.
Agents surrounded the vehicle to make the arrests after the female suspect left the store with the money she obtained from the exchanged goods and got in the vehicle with the male suspect, he said.
A search of the subjects vehicles revealed several victims’ checkbooks and a number of forged identification cards - mostly the victims’ driver’s licenses, Dickerson said.
Twenty-four check books of 24 different victims and 16 different forged driver’s licenses and one military identification card were recovered.
Dickerson said the suspects had attached their photographs to the forged identification cards.
Some identification cards in the recovered ones had not yet been altered yet.
A U.S. Atlas was also found in the car with eight states where the suspects were believed to have either used the forged checks and identities or where they allegedly intended to use them, he said.
Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Florida and Kentucky were states in the atlas that had circles drawn around towns and cities.
Agencies participating in the continuing investigation include the New Albany and Tupelo Police Departments, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and the Secret Service.
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