Police investigating possible counterfeiting ring
At least two reported incidents of check fraud in Cape Coral may be tied to a possible counterfeiting ring working out of Miami, according to police reports.
On Monday, the Cape Coral Police Department was contacted by a manager of the Publix store located at 2420 Santa Barbara Blvd., S., about two fraudulent checks that were cashed at the store. The checks and the description of the women who cashed them matched similar events reported at other Publixes.
According to the reports, an investigation into the possible counterfeiting ring is ongoing and the CCPD’s Financial Crimes detectives are investigating.
The Publix manager told police that three black women, who were dressed in medical scrubs, came to the service counter to cash two payroll checks. One woman signed her $493.52 check as Claire L. Boone and the other signed her $487.39 check as Cynthia Stringfield, according to the reports.
Both appeared to be payroll checks from a Fort Myers attorney through a SunTrust bank account. The reports state that the Publix cashier checked and found that there were funds available but did not confirm employment.
On March 25, an officer responded to the Publix at 1725 N.E. Pine Island Road. An employee said she had received copies of three fraudulent checks from the corporate office that had been cashed March 13. The checks were from a SunTrust account bearing the name of the Fort Myers attorney, the reports state.
Video footage showed three black women dressed in medical scrubs and identification badges cashed the checks. They provided ID, and the clerk called the bank to verify the funds were there. The checks were paid to Boone, Stringfield and Ladenia Reed for $493.52, $487.39 and $491.03.
The Publix employee told police that she contacted the attorney and spoke with his office manager. The office manager did not know the three women and reported that her employer’s operating account is with Wachovia, that he does not have a SunTrust account, according to the reports.
A copy of the checks and surveillance video were placed into evidence. The reports state that police believe the identifications used to cash the checks may also be fraudulent.