Nine people, many of whom prosecutors say are homeless or addicted to drugs, have pleaded guilty to taking part in a check cashing scheme that cost local banks tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, the suspects were recruited by out-of-town criminals to use their names on checks that were either forged or counterfeit. Prosecutors say the defendants would get to keep a small portion of the $2,000 to $5,000 checks they cashed illegally.
About three dozen checks were cashed from November 2015 until recently, costing banks more than $52,000.
The defendants, who face seven to 35 years in prison, are:
- Robert Byers, 48, Tonawanda
- Lindsey Ketch, 25, Buffalo
- Timothy Budek, 39, Buffalo
- Robert Jones, 46, Buffalo
- Amanda McClain, 35, Buffalo
- Anthony Gulnac, 27, Tonawanda
- John Pasinski, 34, Springville
- Lawrence Foggie, 58, Buffalo
- Demetrius Calhoun, 44, Buffalo
Investigators are still trying to identify and track down the masterminds of the scheme. Anyone with information is asked to contact Amherst Police.