13 arrested, 11 sought, in Richland County forgery ring

dprice@thestate.comFebruary 9, 2013 

— Richland County deputies have arrested 13 people and are looking for 11 more in a check forgery ring that stole more than $10,000 from a local business.

Carla Rachel, 24, is accused of running the ring with the help of at least 22 other people to counterfeit and cash checks from the Star Music Company at 1322 Assembly Street between December and January, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Friday. Lott said that the ring is just the latest example in a class of crime that is becoming more common and organized.

“There’s a lot of (forgery rings,)” he said. “We’re going to go after every one of them.”

Officers from the department’s four-member identity theft division started investigating the ring after the owner of Star Music Company reported check fraud on Jan. 3. The business’s owner told officers that several transactions had been made without approval, and investigators found that her bank account information had been stolen, Lott said.

Investigators discovered an organized network of forgers while investigating the crime, Lott said. Rachel is suspected of getting the business’s account information from 18-year-old Diamond Scarbough, who worked at a check-cashing business that handled Star Music Company’s accounts. Lott said Rachel then used a check printer to create the checks which she gave to other recruits, most of whom were in their late teens or early 20s, to cash at the Check-into-Cash at 3315 Broad River Road.

In addition to the Star Music Company, the ring is accused of stealing from Check into Cash, Allegiance Industrial, Brian Center Mental Health, TPUSA Aerotek, Keenan Energy MDT Personnel and the Adoption Network. The sheriff’s department said the ring stole an estimated $11,247.09 from the Columbia businesses, and Lott said more businesses could have also been targeted.

• Rachel is charged with criminally receiving goods and services fraudulently obtained, conspiracy and forgery, and Green is charged with Conspiracy. In addition, the following people were arrested:

• Nicole Pearson-Gainey (DOB: 07/11/1994), who is charged with obtaining a signature or property under false pretenses.

• Linda Brooks-Gainey (DOB: 10/13/1992) , who is charged with obtaining a signature or property under false pretenses.

• Rashin Gibbs (DOB: 03/08/1993), who is charged with weapons/possession of a stolen handgun.

• Kristal Davis (DOB: 07/18/1983), who is charged with forgery.

• Anthony Canada (DOB: 11/03/1990), who is charged with forgery.

• Devon Montgomery (DOB: 01/21/1993), who is charged with forgery.

• Martika Breeland (DOB: 01/23/1990), who is charged with forgery.

• Jazmine Shepard (DOB: 11/05/1994), who is charged with forgery.

• Kadeem Robinson (DOB: 04/02/1993), who is charged with forgery.

• Tykeria Capers (DOB: 10/08/1990), who is charged with forgery.

• Terrell Golson (DOB: 05/30/1983), who is charged with forgery.

The department is still looking for the following individuals on various forgery and conspiracy charges: Christopher Lowe,24, Oliver Childs, 34, Trenton Portee, 18, Hakeem Douglas, 20, Antavius Brown, 24, Nicholas Bamberg, 20, Devin Richardson, 18, Benjamin Mccoy, 32, Necole Richardson, 34, Precious Foster, 32, Porsche Thomas,23.

If you know anything about the forgery ring, contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or www.sccrimestoppers.com.

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