4th person pleads guilty in counterfeit check scheme

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A fourth person pleaded guilty Monday to his role in a scheme that recruited homeless people from Rhode Island to cash counterfeit busieness checks in several New England states in exchange for a small payment, federal prosecutors said.

Cortavious Benford, 28, of Atlanta, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

Benford and his accomplices cheated banks in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine out of almost $500,000, authorities said.

The men created counterfeit checks in the amount of about $2,000 made payable to a homeless or transient person they had recruited, then drove that person to a bank. In exchange, the recruited person was paid from $100 to $200, prosecutors said.

The scheme collapsed in February 2021 when a person recruited by Benford and an accomplice entered a Providence bank and pointed out their car to bank employees, who contacted police.

A search of a Providence home used by the suspects resulted in the seizure of a computer loaded with a program used to design and print checks, a printer, and blank check stock, prosecutors said.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island