Originally created 03/03/05

Man's arrest sparks forgery ring inquiry



An Augusta man who was arrested Tuesday, accused of cashing stolen personal checks that belonged to a disabled Vietnam veteran, may be part of a stolen-check ring, authorities said Wednesday.

James Curtis Dent, 20, of the 2700 block of Woodlake Road, was charged with three counts of felony forgery in the first degree, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Greg Newsome. He remained in jail as of Wednesday, a jail official said.

The arrest could be part of a stolen-check ring and might lead to further arrests, Investigator Newsome said, but he would not disclose additional details, pending an ongoing investigation.

According to a police report filed by James McFadden, 61, of the 1300 block of Laney-Walker Boulevard in October 2004, two checks worth $1,200 each, and one for $800, were cashed through his account at the Mechanics & Farmers Bank in Charlotte.

Mr. McFadden, an Army veteran who said he suffers from diabetes and a heart condition, said Wednesday that he did not know Mr. Dent.

About three years ago, Mr. McFadden said, a box of checks was either stolen or lost while he was moving from Charlotte to Augusta.

On two other occasions in Octo- ber, Mr. McFadden said someone attempted to use his routing and account numbers to make electronic transactions of $295 and $481. Both were declined by the bank, the police report stated.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.