How Fraudulent Checks are Caught
A Wellington man has been arrested for forgery, organized scheme to defraud, and grand theft. The article in WPTV News describes a man who is sorry for his actions, but wanted to use the money to put his children through college and has every intention to pay back the $30,000 he stole.
The following article is featured in WPTV News Channel 5:
After police questioned him as to why he stole more than $30,000, 56-year-old Celestino Cruz said he was using the money to pay for his children’s college tuition and hasn’t eaten or slept since. Cruz, of Wellington, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on 34 counts of uttering a forged instrument and forgery, organized scheme to defraud, and grand theft.
Cruz, employed by Apogee Business Service as a bookkeeper for a year, oversaw finances for several homeowners and condominium associations. When the associations needed to pay bills, one of the bookkeepers would be in charge of printing out checks. The association president or manager would pick up checks from the bookkeeper and have them approved by board members. The checks were then brought back to the bookkeeper to be forwarded to vendors, a Boynton Beach Police report says.
About a month ago, Apogee Business Service received a call from a property manager of Meadows on the Green saying a check cleared but was payable to Cruz. The company then investigated all checks written on that account and found 34 fraudulent checks totaling $31,248.73 deposited into Cruz’s account.
When questioned by police he said after the checks were approved and given back to him, he would change the “payable to” himself, the report says. Cruz said he was “sorry for his actions” and is trying to sell his home to pay back the money he stole.
If you have ever been accused of fraud, forgery, or grand theft, the smartest thing to do is to pay restitution as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer can advise you through this process.
Because you are looking at serious jail time, fines, and court fees, it is more than worth it to invest in a criminal defense lawyer. He or she will help you build your defense, and will most likely advise you to pay restitution which can greatly mitigate your sentence. Everyone has his or her own story, share yours with your lawyer and have a better chance for a future.