By Abby Reed
MIDLAND - Eight people from the Permian Basin are facing federal charges for creating fake payroll checks and cashing them all over West Texas.
These eight people were indicted in federal court this week:
Veronica Marcela Rivas, 37
John Robert Blythe, 47
Marcus Kelly Deary, 28
Augustine Galindo Hernandez, 39
Tracie Lynn Wagaman, 30
Martin Ramos, 38
Jennifer Jernigan, 28
Viola Young, 34
Police say the suspects created bogus paychecks, from several local businesses and then cashed those checks for quick money. Police have been conducting their investigation into the check scam since May.
Investigators say the suspects were creating very realistic payroll checks and then cashing them at businesses in Midland, Odessa and Lubbock. The checks were equipped with real routing and account numbers from legitimate businesses.
"They used several businesses, including Key Energy, Rockwood Manor, Southwest Deli Group in Odessa. They took their name and their routing information and created these bad checks with them. Not only were they the victims, but the merchants who cashed the checks, they were out some money as well," Sgt. Alfredo Grimaldo, with the Midland Police Department, said.
All total, police believe more than $25,000 was stolen. This case has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney's office. Each suspect is awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to make, utter and possess counterfeit securities.