Durham Police say Omar Shariff Burrell of Baltimore, M.D., Bryan Newsome of Irvington, N.J. and Robert Godbolt of East Orange, N.J. would deposit fake paychecks at banks and then take out the money. The three men were equipped with two forms of identification that did not make tellers suspicious.
"They had well organized it," says Officer J.R. Broadwell of the Durham Police Department. "It was well organized for what they were doing."
When Durham Police caught the men, they had already stolen about $30,000, and they had $30,000 of additional checks ready to go.
The group was not caught in an undercover sting. They were caught in the Brightleaf Square area in downtown Durham during a traffic stop when one of the men was not wearing a seat belt.
Durham Police are not sure how big this check fraud ring is.
"I have a feeling that it probably is going to be somewhat of a big deal," Broadwell says. "It looks like it started in the Richmond, Virginia area. There were checks that were cashed and deposited in the Raleigh area, and there were some checks cashed here in the Durham area also."
Durham Police say they were amazed at how the thieves had real bank account numbers. They do not know how the group got them.
The account holders will probably not lose the the money that was taken. The banks' insurance should cover the losses.