PDT Managing Editor
New Boston police have arrested a man they say is part of a multi-state forgery ring.
According to NBPD Capt. Steve Goins, Phillip and Kim Benton of Rush, Ky., reported June 8 that someone had counterfeited one of their personal checks and cashed it at the New Boston Walmart for $435 and purchased a flat-screen television. The Bentons also reported fraudulent purchases at stores in Kentucky and West Virginia, where counterfeit checks and expensive items also were purchased.
Goins said police obtained surveillance footage of the June 8 incident and they warned Walmart security personnel to watch for the suspect in the video.
Walmart security personnel reported to NBPD on June 22 that the suspect used another fraudulent check to buy a flat-screen television for $370.
As the suspect was leaving Walmart, Goins said, NBPD officers detained the man, who reportedly gave officers a false name and used a fake identification card. Once under arrest, Goins said the suspect’s real name and ID card were revealed.
Goins identified the suspect as Clifton Payne, 43, of Ironton. Payne reportedly also possessed two other fake ID cards and the counterfeit bank check he used at Walmart. Goins said Payne also indicated there was a large quantity of counterfeit checks and fake ID cards in the vehicle he was driving.
The vehicle was impounded and Goins said NBPD will obtain a search warrant on Monday to seize the suspected criminal evidence.
Payne was charged with four counts of forgery and two counts of telecommunications fraud, all fifth-degree felonies.
Goins said police discovered during their interview with Payne that he is involved in a large multiple state forgery ring where Payne is one of many people involved in going around the tri-state area and cashing counterfeit checks and having stolen identity information from multiple victims. So far, Goins said, possible incidents include Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
New Boston police will be contacting and cooperating with the investigating agencies from the other states this week.
Goins said police believe the victims’ personal identity information was hacked or stolen from some type of database and the suspected forgery ring made counterfeit checks with the victims’ names on them and fake identification cards with the victims’ names on them. In Payne’s case, at least, his photograph was on the ID card to evade detection, Goins said.
If anyone has information about Payne or other suspects that were involved with these suspected crimes, call the New Boston Police Department at 740-456-4109 and ask to speak with Goins.
Payne will appear Monday morning at Portsmouth Municipal Court. Once this case is presented to a Scioto County grand jury, Goins said Payne could face an additional 15 counts of forgery for every counterfeit check and identification card found in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Josh Richardson may be contacted at 740-353-3101, ext. 244, firstname.lastname@example.org.