Probe Of Bogus Checks Uncovers Wider Criminal Ring

Dec 24, 2019

Credit Summit County Sheriff's Department

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office last week investigated two separate fraud reports.   

One  of them, involving the passing of bogus checks, has uncovered what looks like a major multi-state criminal operation.   

Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright reported that last Thursday, Dec. 19th, they got a report from the America First Credit Union in Pinebrook, that a woman who had made several fraudulent-check transactions with them was in their offices again, trying to pass another check.     

“The teller at the Credit Union stated that this suspect and another female had been depositing checks and routing them to another credit union account, then withdrawing the funds before the checks cleared or canceled.  The checks started to be returned by the issuing banks as insufficient funds forged.    After receiving that information, all of the America First branches were notified to look out for these suspects.  One of those suspects, Suzanna, who we arrested in this case, entered the Kilby location to deposit two checks  totaling the amount of $4000.  When the teller recognized the suspect he notified his manager who immediately called us.”

A suspect, identified as 57-year-old Suzanna Gay Williams, of North Las Vegas, was detained as she was about to leave.   Under questioning, she implicated other individuals in the operation.

Officers obtained a search warrant for her residence, a rental unit near the Canyons.     Lt. Wright said by then her confederates had left, but a search of the rental found a printer, check supplies, credit cards and some cash.

The Lieutenant said that groups of people pushing phony checks usually move from city to city.  He talked about what is  typical of these operations.        

“People will, when they go to the extent of actually printing checks—now, anyone can, you can buy blank checks or the template of a check and use those, such as a business checking account and run those through a printer.   Typically, what these criminals will do is they will gain access to a routing number, a bank account with a routing number to an official or to an actual bank account so that they can get those to clear, long enough to get the funds that they’re trying to get.”

Lt. Wright said it’s an Active Case, and they will hand it off to a federal partner, likely the Secret Service, since this involves hundreds of thousands of dollars in bad checks and activity spanning Utah and Nevada.        

“We anticipate having additional details that will come, that’ll surface as we continue this.  But it appears to be a quite big criminal operation that we’ve uncovered.”

On another case, a Francis woman contacted deputies last Friday to complain she had been defrauded.   She said she had applied for a job on the website Indeed.com.

A man hired her, and in early December a check was mailed to her for $1750.   She was instructed via text messages to cash the check, use the money to buy Apple gift cards and text the man with pictures of the cards and their identifying numbers.  

The woman spent $1400 on the gift cards.

On December 4th, after receiving two more checks, she became apprehensive that she was being swindled and told the suspect she didn’t want to work for him anymore.

Lt. Wright said her suspicions were correct.   He said the checks were cashed through her bank .   When the checks turned out to be fraudulent, the bank took the funds from her account.   

Little is known about the suspect, except that the checks were mailed from an address in Modesto, California.