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Police investigating fraud cases at local banks

Police were continuing Monday to look into two different cases of bogus payroll checks being passed at local banks.

Officials said the cases - one last Friday at SunTrust bank branch on Washington Road and one Monday at Queensborough National Bank & Trust on West Hill Street - were not related. But Monday's incident left an Atlanta man in jail.

Forgery charges were pending against Rowland George, 44, according to Thomson Police Investigator Lt. Scott Whittle. Mr. George was one of three men trying to pass checks from a Columbia County company at Queensborough on Monday. He was arrested by Officer Josh Caston while walking along the Warrenton Highway about 1:30 p.m. Authorities said at least two checks from the men were cashed, and Mr. George's two accomplices were not apprehended.

Meanwhile, police are still searching for several Hispanic men who attempted to cash a number of counterfeit checks with a SunTrust bank teller shortly before the noon hour last Friday, Lt. Whittle said. The payroll checks were bearing the name of a local company, he added.

"We know that two of them were cashed before a teller discovered what was going on," Lt. Whittle said at the scene. "We're not sure exactly how many Hispanic men went into the bank to do this, but we know that there were at least four or five."

Lt. Whittle would not disclose exactly how much money was taken in the fraud case.

"Shortly after this happened, we notified all of our local banks so they could be aware of this," he noted.

The wanted men last were seen traveling in a newer model, four-door Ford F-250 pickup truck with a brush guard on the front and a window guard on the rear window.

Anyone with information about either of the crimes should contact Lt. Whittle at 706-595-2166 or 706-595-2145.

Web posted on Thursday, January 17, 2008

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