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Southwest Florida resident charged with writing worthless checks over $500,000

By Staff | Mar 1, 2010

On Feb. 26, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) special agents arrested Christopher Babcock, 43, of Estero on charges of grand theft and scheme to defraud.

Babcock’s arrest follows a Feb. 17 arrest in Bloomfield, Mich. on charges out of Lee and Collier counties for six counts of grand theft and one count of scheme to defraud. He was extradited to Florida following that arrest.

FDLE agents began investigating Babcock after receiving information that over the past few years, he has written more than a half million dollars of worthless checks for high end goods and services including luxury vehicles, jewelry, limousine services, resort vacations and golf/country club memberships. Babcock’s checks were written from closed bank accounts that were initially opened with deposits ranging from zero to one dollar.

Investigators say that on July 16, 2009, Babcock opened a checking account with JP Morgan Chase Bank in Fort Myers. Babcock did not deposit any funds when he opened this account, but advised the bank that he was inheriting $3.1 million. Accordingly, JP Morgan Chase Bank provided him with eight starter checks. On the same day, Babcock wrote two checks from his new account.

The investigation revealed that one of the checks, in the amount of $1,074.46, was written to State Farm for automobile insurance on a Mercedes SUV. Investigation further revealed that a second check, in the amount of $350,000, was written to Access Realty as a deposit on a new home.

The next day, Christopher Babcock wrote two more checks from the same JP Morgan account. One check, in the amount of $983.36, was written to State Farm for automobile insurance on a 2009 Mercedes SL550. The second check, in the amount of $113,486.89, was written to Mercedes Benz of Naples for the purchase of a new Mercedes SL 550.

Babcock continued this practice over subsequent weeks and wrote $54,000 in worthless checks for two Rolex watches and a diamond engagement ring, $6,400 for a rental unit in Cape Coral, $7,500 in limousine rentals, and $3,000 for a hotel stay in Captiva.

FDLE asks anyone with information about Babcock to please contact Special Agent Tracy Maurer at 239-278-7170.

Babcock was booked into the Lee County Jail.