Two people arrested in September in connection with what authorities believe is a statewide forgery ring have been formally charged, according to court records.
Casey Lee Horton, 28, of Atlanta and Ricardo Woodfin, 30, of Stone Mountain, Ga., are key figures in a criminal organization that recruits residents to cash forged checks at local banks, police said.
Horton was charged Oct. 23 with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, unauthorized use of property to facilitate a crime, theft of property greater than $25,000, possession of a forgery device, 18 counts of forgery and misdemeanor possession of marijuana and fleeing.
Woodfin also was charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, unauthorized use of property to facilitate a crime, theft of property greater than $25,000, possession of a forgery device, eight counts of forgery and one count of fleeing on foot.
Jonesboro Police Department officers said Horton picked up John Holmes, 61, on June 4 and bought him lunch while another suspect copied Holmes' ID and made out fraudulent checks in his name.
Horton drove Holmes to eight banks over two days, where Holmes cashed seven fraudulent checks. The money was then given to Horton, according to a probable cause affidavit.
A day later, police said Horton picked up Terrence Thomas, 27, and repeated the method, except this time the attempt to cash the check failed and Thomas was arrested, the affidavit said.
Holmes was arrested June 6 and told police that he also was driven to Paragould and Monette to cash checks, the affidavit said.
Jonesboro officers said they received a message Aug. 24 that Horton, who hadn't yet been identified, had been connected to forgeries in Nashville, Dierks, Mineral Springs, Ashdown and Murfeesboro.
Horton returned to Jonesboro in September to recruit Kemario Fowler, 31, and an unidentified man to cash additional fraudulent checks. BancorpSouth staff contacted police Sept. 11 about Fowler's attempt to cash a check.
Detective Nathan Coleman responded to the scene and noticed a rental car occupied by Horton and Woodfin in a nearby parking lot. The vehicle drove away when Coleman approached but wrecked in a nearby ditch, according to the affidavit.
Horton fled from the ditch and ran through an open door of a nearby hotel room, where officers arrested him with $7,000 and a bag of marijuana in his pocket, the affidavit said. He was identified as the suspect in the June forgeries, as well as the suspect in cases in Nashville.
Woodfin fled to his own hotel room carrying what police called a large amount of paper. Police said Woodfin attempted to destroy it but fled again when police were called to the room by hotel employees the affidavit said.
Police searched the room and found check paper and an empty printer box.
Woodfin was located trying to hide inside a stranger's vehicle parked at a Waffle House. Police said Woodfin was identified as working with Horton in a larger fraud ring that constituted a criminal enterprise, the affidavit said.
Fowler told police he was taken to multiple banks in Jonesboro and to another in Monette and cashed fraudulent checks. He said all the money was given to Horton, and that he was supposed to be paid at the end of the day.
Fowler was charged with four counts of second-degree forgery and one count of theft greater than $5,000. Holmes and Thomas were charged with second-degree forgery at the time of their arrests.
Neither Horton nor Woodfin were in custody Tuesday in the Craighead County jail, according to the inmate roster.
State Desk on 10/31/2018