105 arrested for fraud when Tempe police break major bad-check ring

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 7:05 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Police have arrested 105 people in the culmination of an 18-month investigation into five check-fraud mills operating in Tempe.

The Tempe Police Department will be releasing the details of "Operation Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself" later Tuesday morning.

"Detectives estimate the crime spree value at over $240,000 in attempted and completed fraud transactions," Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Mike Pooley said in a news release.

The massive investigation was done in coordination with the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

With the number of suspects and indictments in the triple digits, this is the largest fraud case ever investigated by TPD and the biggest ever prosecuted by the AG's office.

"Tempe's investigation led to the discovery of a larger hierarchy of three loosely affiliated organizations; many of the suspects are family members who were actively recruiting others to participate in and benefit from the criminal activity," Pooley explained.

The suspects range in age from 18 to 73. They face a variety of charges, including illegal control of enterprise, fraudulent schemes, forgery and theft.

Police say some of the suspects allegedly were involved in illegal gambling and drug activity, as well.

 

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