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Police Arrest Third Suspect in Alleged Government Fraud Scheme

Bank check (Shutterstock)

A third suspect has been arrested in a government check forging scheme, according to a release from the V.I. Police Department.

Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit started an investigation into a complaint received by the Labor Department on St. Thomas. The investigation led police to believe that 12 checks, totaling $22,643.07, were counterfeited, and deposited using the department’s account information, the release stated.

Police say they have evidence allegedly showing Obasi Luke deposited nine checks totaling $10,873.24 into his personal bank account.

On Wednesday at 10:11 a.m., detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit executed an arrest warrant near Campo Rico on the south side of St. Croix. Luke, 23, was placed under arrest without incident, police said. Luke was charged with uttering or passing forged or counterfeit matters, obtaining money by false pretense, grand larceny, possession of forged bills or notes, forgery, and fraudulent claims upon the government.

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Bail was set at $20,000; unable to post bail, Luke was remanded to the John A. Bell Correctional Facility, pending his advice of rights hearing scheduled for Friday at the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.

The other two suspects were arrested June 30. D’Jor Baptiste, 25, was arrested in Estate Whim and Myles Arnold, 23, was arrested in Estate Glynn. They were charged with myriad felonies: forgery, grand larceny, possession of forged bills or notes, fraudulent claims upon the government, uttering or passing forged or counterfeit matters, and obtaining money by false pretense.

One of the men had received legitimate Labor Department checks in the past, said Deborah Hodge, commander of the V.I. Police Department’s economic crimes unit. They allegedly used this as a template to make their own checks.

“So it’s not like they stole them from Labor; they just printed them up,” Hodge said on July 1. “They did not need to access the Department of Labor’s account or anything. They just printed them out.”

The bank noticed and called police, she said.

 

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