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Lake City fraudulent check-cashing ring busted

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Updated: 7/19/2013 11:57 pm

LAKE CITY, Fla. -- A man has been arrested after Lake City police busted a fradulent check-casing ring.

At about 1 p.m. on July 11, police responded to the First Federal Bank on U.S. 90 West near Turner Road regarding an incident involving fraudulent checks.

Responding officers were told multiple fraudulent checks had been cashed at two branches of First Federal. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office helped in the investigation.

Thursday afternoon, another fraudulent check was passed at the Stop-N-Go on South Main Boulevard in Lake City. The person attempting to cash the check, Benjamin A. Meyers, was detained by LCPD and questioned. Meyers said he was "recruited" by a man identified as Reginald L. Cherry to pass the checks.

Also on Thursday, three additional fraudulent checks were cashed in Baker County and the suspects were later identified. Two additional fraudulent checks were cashed in Suwannee County. One suspect, Lamarcus A. Kelly was detained by the Live Oak Police Department, and the other, Theodore L. Carter, was identified afterward.

On Friday, July 12th, John Doll  and Amanda Scott allegedly tried unsuccessfully to pass fraudulent checks at the Walmart in Gainesville. The two subjects then again attempted to pass the same checks at the First Federal Bank on South Main Boulevard in Lake City. Doll and Scott were detained by the Lake City Police Department.

Investigation over the course of the next week revealed that Andre Copeland and Larry Horne contacted Alexis Reynolds and Kaleigh Horne to help cash fraudulent checks. Reyonlds then contacted Terocsher Bradley and Alonzo Ashley to assist. Larry Horne went to Suwannee County while the other five drove to the First Federal Bank Mall Branch. Earlier the same day, Robert Morris and Peyton Cleveland went to the First Federal Bank South Main Branch.

At the South Main Branch, Morris and Cleveland successfully cashed two checks totaling just under $2,000. At the Mall Branch, Bradley and Reynolds successfully cashed checks also totaling just under $2,000. They then returned to the vehicle and drove to the First Federal Bank on Turner Rd where Ashley successful cashed a check totally just under $1,000. When Kaleigh Horne attempted to cash another check, suspicious First Federal employees conducted a verification with FGC and determined it to be fraudulent. The subjects left the bank before arrival of police.

Interviewing the suspects revealed that Copeland was the "leader" of the group and had provided the fraudulent checks from another unknown subject. Copeland was arrested and charged with Conspiracy and Grand Theft. Larry Horne and Reginald Cherry were also arrested on fraud charges. Warrants are being filed on all the other subjects involved for various fraud charges.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake City Police Department anonymously on the TIP line at (386) 719-2068.

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