Dixfield man accused of cashing bogus checks

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AUBURN — A Dixfield man accused of cashing counterfeit payroll checks at businesses in central Maine is due in court this month.

Anthony W. Smith, 27, will make his initial appearance on Jan. 31 in Androscoggin County Superior Court on charges of felony forgery and theft by unauthorized taking, a court clerk said Wednesday.

Smith was arrested Dec. 5 and freed the next day on $200 cash bail, the clerk said. He has yet to retain a lawyer. She said that due to the felony charges, Smith cannot be arraigned unless he is indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury.

Attempts to contact Smith on Wednesday using a phone number he listed in his court records, and his social media network Facebook page that listed a Carthage residence, were unsuccessful.

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Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Detective Kevin Nichols said Smith was using a computer template and altering the business names, the payee names, amounts to be paid and issue dates on the checks.

Nichols responded on Sept. 13, 2012, to a fraudulent check complaint made by Long Green Variety in Livermore, according to an affidavit on the arrest.

The detective wrote that the store cashed a check for $505.92 on Sept. 4 to Smith from One Steel Recycling Inc. in Oakland. It was later learned that the check amount had been altered from $127, the affidavit states.

Nichols said the store owner’s daughter received a call from a man asking if she could cash a $500 check, and she said she could. When the man came in and cashed the $505.92 check, the daughter said she recognized him as Smith. Nichols said she knew Smith as a regular customer, and verified him further by logging into his Facebook site.

Nichols did a cross-agency check and learned that Oakland police had arrested Smith on Sept. 11 on a charge of felony forgery after catching him in the act of trying to cash a bogus check.

Nichols said Oakland police got a tip from an Oakland store that a man had called and asked if they could cash a check issued by One Steel Recycling for $1,500. He said the clerk knows the owner of that business and contacted the business and learned they didn’t issue such a check.

Oakland police sent an officer to the store and when Smith arrived to cash the check he was arrested after a short chase, Nichols said.

Oakland police seized Smith’s possessions, among which were a portable data storage device called a computer thumb drive that contained templates to produce fake checks, the affidavit said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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