DENVER - Investigators have been working for months to get to the bottom of an alleged check forgery operation targeting people in Denver, Arapahoe and Jefferson Counties.
Two people have been arrested.
Court documents obtained by 7NEWS allege that one of the suspects printed at least 27 checks for various amounts totaling more than $22,000.
Police received their first tip about the operation when a woman called in early June to report that her purse had been stolen from a car parked in an open garage near East Hampden and South Colorado Boulevard.
The victim’s credit cards were used to purchase items at stores throughout metro Denver.
Nearly three months later, the woman received an email from the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver regarding a room reserved in her name.
She told police she didn’t make that reservation.
Police went to the hotel and found 33-year old Jason Robertson in the room that had been reserved.
They also found two laptops, a printer, check making materials, blank checks and numerous documents with different people’s names.
While police waited for a search warrant, 29-year old Laci Hill returned to the room. She was taken in for questioning and later admitted that she altered other people’s checks to pay for food, lodging and illicit drugs.
Last month, police linked the Denver case to the theft of payroll information from a business in Arapahoe County.
Steve Fisher, the owner of Shylo Country Club for Dogs in Watkins, told 7NEWS that he received a call from U.S. Bank about a couple of “suspicious” payroll checks some people were trying to cash. Before he could tell them that he didn't recognize the names, they told him that the people trying to cash the checks were running out of the bank.
He said the culprits didn’t give up and cashed several checks totaling $7,400 at different branches.
When asked how they got his payroll account information, Fisher replied, “I suspect that someone got a hold of one of our ex-employees or current employees paychecks and made a copy of it.”
He said he had to close the account that he’d had for 17 years.
“It was a major headache,” Fisher said. “It took a week of constant working to close out the account and to call King Soopers and say I had five or six legitimate employees who tried to cash checks, but they weren’t going to go through.”
He said U.S. Bank worked with him to make good on the losses, and that he now requires all employees to have direct deposit.
Hill has been charged with theft, forgery and criminal impersonation in Denver.
Robertson was arrested on an outstanding escape warrant.
He’s facing separate forgery and theft charges in Jefferson County.