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Police: Homeless Man Cashed $9,000 Worth Of Fraudulent Checks

Posted September 14

— A Fayetteville homeless man is accused of cashing more than $9,000 in fraudulent checks at multiple banks in Rogers, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Zachary Scott Craft, 57, was arrested Saturday (Sept. 9) in connection with four counts of second-degree forgery and four counts of theft of property - all felonies.

Craft told police that in June two black men approached him at 7 Hills Homeless Center in Fayetteville asking about cashing checks for them, according to the affidavit. Craft said the men had a printer and computer inside their silver minivan.

Between June and July, Craft said he cashed four checks for the men: a $3,298.89 check at Arvest Bank, 1801 W. Walnut St.; a $2,189.98 check at United Bank, 3333 W. Walnut St.; and two checks each for $1,855.33 at First Western Bank branches at 2601 Champions Drive and 401 W. Walnut St., according to the affidavit.

Craft said the men promised to pay him if he cashed the checks, but they never did. Craft added that he didn't think the checks were forged if the bank cashed them.

Rogers police did not immediately respond to request for comment.

An Arvest risk management officer told police she thought the forged checks were linked to similar cases of fraud across Arkansas and Kansas. She estimated Arvest has lost roughly $67,000 from the scheme, according to the affidavit.

Last year, Fayetteville police arrested eight Georgia men who recruited the homeless to cash fraudulent checks for them. The group operated for about a year, cashing roughly $100,000 in forged checks at banks across Northwest Arkansas.

The group would use a homeless person's personal information to print fake checks and then cash them. The group paid each person a percentage of the check they cashed.

Craft was being held Wednesday (Sept. 13) at the Benton County Jail on a $30,000 bond. He has a hearing set for Oct. 16 in Benton County Circuit Court.

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