DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Authorities say they busted a highly organized check fraud ring in Central Florida that netted nearly two dozen arrests and affected at least 80 victims.17040834
Volusia County Sheriff's Office, along with the State Attorney's Office, U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Postal Service held a news conference on Friday to discuss the investigation.
The check fraud ring was operating in seven counties: Brevard, Orange, Volusia, Flagler, Seminole, St. Johns and Putnam counties.
Deputies said the ringleader, 36-year-old Sean Drawdy, studied fraud and got an idea from "Dateline." The check fraud ring would target high-end neighborhoods and look for flags on mailboxes to then steal mail and checks, according to officials.
The suspects would then "wash" the checks and make them out to themselves, forging the handwriting.
The crew stole more than $30,000 all together.
All twenty suspects went to jail, but investigators say some may have already bonded out or entered pleas. Their court cases remain pending.
Sheriff Ben Johnson urged people not to put checks or important information in their mailboxes, but instead take them to a secure facility or post office.
Investigators say the gang targeted several people in an Ormond Beach neighborhood. Victim Sherri Anderson spoke with Local 6.
Anderson says the fraudsters stole a check for $60 meant to pay a bill and changed the amount to $700 before writing it out to themselves.
"I'm glad they're caught, and I hope they just put them in jail for a while. Let them think about what they've done," Anderson said.
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