Originally created 05/08/99

Police seek assistance in search



Eight people suspected in a check fraud ring were still on the loose Friday, and police are asking for the public's help to find them.

The four men and four women are accused of stealing more than $10,000 from Augusta businesses by cashing phony paychecks. No arrests were made in the case as of Friday, said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

Using high-tech computer programs, the suspects printed counterfeit birth certificates with fake names and dates of birth to obtain state-issued identification cards, Investigator Jimmy Vowell said.

The group printed their own checks with big-company names using the VersaCheck computer program. They then tried to pass the fake checks off as paychecks at local supermarkets and convenience stores, cashing them with the phony identification cards, Investigator Vowell said.

Some of the companies used have been Sizemore Personnel and University Hospital, and store clerks haven't checked to see if the checks are valid, Investigator Vowell said.