FBI seeks fourth man in state check counterfeiting scam

Posted: Thursday, February 06, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- FBI agents are seeking a fourth man they say is connected to a counterfeit check-cashing ring that bilked banks out of more than $100,000 using bogus state checks, the FBI said.

Investigators say Gerald Steven Reeves Jr. may have left the state. He is wanted on charges of bank fraud. His alleged check-cashing cohorts Edward Bailey, Aaron Sharpe and Richard Austin were arrested in late January and face the same charges.

Reeves cashed phony checks at banks and check-cashing businesses at least 11 times in July for more than $30,000, according to an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court. With aliases, such as Patrick Kirk and James Robertson, Reeves used fake state treasury warrants.

The warrants are the kind of checks the state uses to pay bills, said the Alaska Department of Revenue.

Bailey told the FBI after his arrest that Austin had made a fake identification card for Reeves. Austin and Sharpe had Reeves cash the checks they created, Bailey said.

Bailey said he met Austin and Sharpe in prison, the complaint says. Sharpe supplied copies of original checks from friends, Austin used a computer and laser printer to make the copies, and Bailey cashed them, according to the complaint. The FBI said the men fraudulently took $26,000 from First National and $29,000 from Wells Fargo.

Employees at KeyBank, the bank the state government uses, discovered the phony checks in July and again in December. They spotted inconsistencies and alerted the state's Treasury Division.

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