A woman wearing an ankle-bracelet monitor while on federal parole for bank fraud has been charged along with three others so far in a counterfeit-check-cashing ring uncovered by Amherst police with the help of the U.S. Secret Service.
The break in the case came Monday morning, when police, acting on a tip, arrested three people in a car and confiscated $3,600 and 40 blank counterfeit checks, according to Amherst Assistant Police Chief Ronald H. Hagelberger.
After the arrests, police Tuesday seized a computer, more counterfeit blank checks and about $2,000 in cash from the Bailey Avenue woman.
Amherst detectives said the counterfeiters copied local payroll checks on a computer, obtained IDs from people, putting their names on the checks, and persuaded people resembling the photo ID to cash the bogus check.
Monday, a Sheridan Drive bank notified police that someone tried to pass a suspicious-looking check before fleeing in a small white car. A car fitting that description was stopped on Harlem Road, where police seized the 40 checks and the $3,600.
They arrested LaShari Ester, 34, of Coit Street, Buffalo, on charges of forgery, possession of a forged instrument, attempted grand larceny and criminal impersonation, they said. Also charged with possession of a forged instrument were Kevin S. Garner, 34, of Chelsea Street and Douglas L. Walker, 33, of Manhattan Avenue.
Tuesday, authorities raided an apartment at 2088 Bailey Ave., Buffalo, and charged Philomena G. McCoy, 36, of that address, with scheming to defraud and criminal possession of a forged instrument.