Defendant Pleads Guilty in Series of Check Cashing Schemes

Modified: December 5, 2019 3:03pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 24-year-old Isaiah Lynch of Buffalo pleaded guilty today before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, both Class “D” felonies.

The defendant admitted to creating numerous forged checks between August 13, 2019 and August 26, 2019. Lynch directed other individuals to cash the forged checks at various M&T Bank locations. He would then provide the accomplices with a portion of the cash for their role in the crime. The forgery resulted in a total loss of $9,071.08 to the bank.

Lynch previously admitted to similar check cashing crimes in Erie County:

  • He pleaded guilty on October 9, 2018 to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. He admitted to creating forged checks and directing 47 separate individuals to steal a total of $89,631.11 from Tops Friendly Market between February 15, 2018 and April 15, 2018. Lynch instructed these individuals to cash checks at the service counter at the Main Street location in North Buffalo. He was able to accomplish these crimes with the assistance of an employee who was involved in the scheme and circumvented security procedures. The employee, Aihsinnek Ferguson, pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, for assisting in the crime. She was sentenced in December 2018 to 5 years probation and ordered to pay restitution.
  • He pleaded guilty on February 11, 2019 to three counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. Lynch admitted again to engaging in a similar scheme, but instead he directed individuals to cash the forged checks at local banking institutions. These crimes occurred between June 25, 2018 through September 15, 2018, resulting in a total loss of $39,605.63 (Citizen’s Bank - $12,530.85, Northwest Bank - $16,000.00, M&T Bank - $11,074.78). 

Lynch also pleaded guilty to a felony charge in another case. Police officers found him in possession of a loaded semi-automatic pistol during a traffic stop on Wright Avenue in the City of Buffalo on June 13, 2018. He pleaded guilty on October 9, 2018 to one count of Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class “D” felony. 

Bail was set at $25,000 on case involving the gun charge, which the defendant posted. He was out of custody on a bench warrant from April 17, 2019 until he was apprehended on September 9, 2019.

Lynch faces a maximum of 28 years in prison when he is sentenced by Justice Buscaglia on all cases on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. He remains held without bail.

DA Flynn commends the various agencies involved in this investigation, including Detective Dan Brinkerhoff of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Detectives John Trabert, Thomas Grillo, Jeffrey Gilbert, Detective Lieutenant Dan McCollum of the Town of Amherst Police Department, Detective Michael Striejewske of the Town of Cheektowaga Police Department, Officers Mitchell Thomas and Trevor Sheehan of the City of Buffalo Police Department, and United States Postal Inspector Clint Homer.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Brian P. Dassero and Gary M. Ertel of the DA’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit as well as Assistant District Attorney Lauren Nash of the DA’s Felony Trials Bureau.