East Texas counterfeiters at it again

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - Some East Texas counterfeiters are at it again. This time, managing to cash nearly $1,000 in worthless checks.

Surveillance video captured the culprits at Citizens National Bank South in Henderson. Police say eight to 10 men have cashed dozens of counterfeit payroll checks at the bank and other businesses, totaling more than $80,000. The checks were made to look like paychecks from Panel Truss, a well known company in town.

Now, officers told us, the thieves are getting brave, going back for more at places they've already hit. Police say surveillance video at James Exxon shows two of the thieves attempting to cash bogus checks. But, this time they ran into trouble.

"He saw my sign that said no payroll checks, and he said, 'You can't cash my check?' And, I said, 'No,' said James Edmonds, owner of the gas station. "So they turned around and went out the door and then something dawned on me. They think we're ignorant to the fact. Of course, we were the first time but maybe not the second, or third."

That's because James Exxon was hit with the counter checks back in June. They lost $23,000.

"Yeah, that's big money to me," said Edmonds. "I mean, that's putting me in a bind to where I can't do things I need for my store."

But, while his store did not become a victim this time, another did.

Police say it was at Cheap Tobacco where the culprits managed to hit yet again. They cashed two checks totaling over $600 until the cashier realized the checks were worthless.

On Tuesday, police say the culprits made their way to Longview. Hitting up T&H Pharmacy.

"There was seven and they kind of hit us real hard, real quick," said pharmacist and owner, James Schumacher.

He says they cashed one of their checks for a little over $300, but then the check scanning security machine alerted them to call Panel Truss.

"As the call was being made, the seven individuals found themselves leaving the store very quickly," said Schumacher. "Now, you basically have to check it out. You've got to call that company. If you don't want to do that, don't cash that check 'cause you could find yourself in a problem."

T&H Pharmacy says they will still cash payroll checks, but they will be on their guards. James Exxon still says they will no longer cash payroll checks.

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