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Nine plead guilty in major check cashing scheme

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Posted at 12:26 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 10:43:25-04

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.