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Eight accused of bilking Cumberland sheriff's office, bank

Posted September 23, 2011
Updated September 26, 2011

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— Eight people have been charged with defrauding the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and a Fayetteville bank, authorities said Friday.

Investigators said the group printed counterfeit checks totaling more than $16,000 against a sheriff’s office account for the Cumberland County Detention Center, beginning in July. The checks were cashed in Fayetteville, Sanford, Lumberton, Clinton, Spring Lake and various other locations in Sampson and Cumberland counties.

"Obviously, they had a very believable face and a believable check," said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. "It was a very elaborate counterfeit scheme."

The county finance office noticed some strange checks were being paid out at banks and businesses, and they traced the checks to eight people.

The following people were charged with forgery, aiding and abetting to forgery, uttering and obtaining property by false pretense:

  • Toboris Buie, 36, of 101 St. James St. in Raeford
  • Michael Blue, 37, of 2935 Gordon Way in Fayetteville
  • Bruce McKoy, 41, of 6044 Gregory St. in Fayetteville
  • Ronald Thaggard, 25, of 110 Chase St. in Fayetteville
  • Escellia Thompson, 43, of 192 Epps Road in Fayetteville
  • Shanee Burtwell, 28, of Room 129 in Carolina Motor Inn
  • Sadie Ellerbe, 22, of 341 Maloney Drive in Fayetteville
  • Marcus Justin Allen, 22, of 5205 Delco St. in Fayetteville

"We figured out how they did it, and we're going to make darn sure it doesn't happen again," Tanna said, declining to elaborate.

Cumberland County Detention Center Cumberland jail targeted in phony check scam

No county employees were involved in the alleged scheme, and the county has insurance, so no taxpayer money will be needed to cover the money lost in the scheme, she said.

Most of those charged have faced forgery or fraud charges previously.

"It wasn't their first day at the rodeo," Tanna said. "Not all criminals are dumb. There are some that are very intelligent in jail. It's unfortunate that they don't take that knowledge and turn it and put it toward something positive."

16 Comments

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  • spearhead Sep 26, 2011

    Thats funny right there. I don't care who you are.
    I went into jail with $20 CASH.
    When I left they gave me a check for $20, which cost me $10 to cash because "I didn't have an account at their bank."

    I hope all the aggravation and work they had to do to sort it out cost them more than $10. Consider it my donation to educate the county.

  • Supie Sep 26, 2011

    "intelligent and in jail" she says? oxymoronic

  • BBWAFRICANWOMAN Sep 26, 2011

    "It is amazing that someone could actually find humor in people stealing from the sheriff's department or any other agency or private company"

    I also laughed at a Blackwater story a few years back that bilked our government out of millions of dollars. What's the difference between the people in this story and the people who work for Blackwater? Answer: There is no difference.

  • mikeyj Sep 23, 2011

    I certainly hope some charges are in the tubes for the banks that cashed these for NOT ensuring proper authentication and such.

  • jmanarc Sep 23, 2011

    It is amazing that someone could actually find humor in people stealing from the sheriff's department or any other agency or private company. These people should be using their apparent smarts to do a legal paying job, not just to try to get free money for doing no legitimate work for it. If it were any of your employers that this happened to and then you would worry about whether or not your paycheck would be declined or even be processed by the bank so that you could pay your bills or buy your neccesities--it wouldn't be so funny.

  • pat7 Sep 23, 2011

    How come there are no Photos of these wonderful people, I guess their shy. I hope you feel entitled no because your going to have a nice cell mate

  • jwood011 Sep 23, 2011

    Another story for World's Dumbest Criminals lol

  • 1UNC Sep 23, 2011

    Jails do not keep cash in property. So whenever someone has to stay in the jail there money is counted and then deposited the next day. Whenever they get out they are given a check for the amount of money they had when they entered. Or if family members have taken money for the im=nmates canteen account the same thing happens. So, the account number is on the bottom of the check just like on any check. Alot of times these people will get an account number for a payroll account from a large company. All they have to do is go to Staples, buy a box of checks and go home to their computer. Make up a name to a company but put the real account number on the bottom of the checks and start printing. At the bank the checks appear to be good because all the account onfo goes thru. But, in 2 weeks when the checks start coming back because the company says they are not theirs the money has been spent. Very easy to get an account number off any check. Just look at the bottom.

  • TeenDAD Sep 23, 2011

    Hahahaha bilk those pesky sheriffs dry!

  • shoutntime Sep 23, 2011

    Toboris Buie, Michael Blue, Bruce McKoy, Ronald Thaggard, Escellia Thompson, Shanee Burtwell, Sadie Ellerbe,

    That makes my list of "Write In" candidates to nominate for service in DC as it seems they know how to balance a budget.

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