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Published: Saturday, 11/23/2002

Computer gear, papers seized in counterfeit check investigation

A computer, a keyboard, check paper, and miscellaneous papers were seized yesterday during a search of two residences by Toledo police as part of a counterfeit check scam investigation.

Detective Doug Allen said police searched 525 Dexter St. and 1911 Joffre Ave. about 10 a.m. The computer is believed to have been used to create phony checks. Evidence of forged payroll checks is believed to be among the eight bags of items seized.

The residences are two of about a half-dozen that have been searched during the investigation. No arrests were made during the searches.

A computer previously seized showed a posting of nearly $3 billion, and investigators are trying to determine whether all the bogus checks have been cashed.

Counterfeit payroll checks were presented to banks, check-cashing firms, and convenience stores. Auto dealers also are among the businesses getting stuck with phony checks.

In May, officers arrested three people as part of the investigation. In that operation, the suspects printed $850,000 worth of bad checks. In September, police raided a South Toledo apartment complex and seized a computer that may have forged checks from numerous companies on its hard drive.

The investigation stretches across many states and into Canada.

Some of the checks date to the late 1990s. They are made out for less than $10,000 and usually are cashed after banking hours or on weekends when they can't be verified. Some checks were made on computers, others may have been stolen from businesses.

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