Nine People Plead Guilty In Check Cashing Scheme That Netted More Than $52,000

Modified: May 23, 2016 12:19pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that nine people have pleaded guilty to several counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in connection with a check cashing scheme that resulted in a loss to area banks of tens of thousands of dollars.

The nine defendants who are indigent, many of them homeless or drug addicted, were recruited by out-of-town criminals to use their names on forged, counterfeit checks to be cashed at banks all across Erie County. The check amounts ranged from $2,000 to $5,000, and a small portion of the money was given to the defendants after the transactions.

From November 2015 until recently, approximately 36 checks were cashed with the loss to local banks totaling more than $52,000.

The nine are awaiting sentencing and face up to 7 years in prison for each fraudulent check passed.  Some defendants could face as much as 35 years in state prison.

The investigation continues against the out-of-town recruiters who are still at large.  Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Amherst Police.

Acting DA Flaherty commends Amherst Police Detectives John Trabert and Robert Cunningham for their diligence in this investigation.

Assistant District Attorneys Candace K. Vogel and Gary M. Ertel are prosecuting the case.

Here are the nine defendants:

48-year-old Robert Byers of Tonawanda

25-year-old Lindsey Ketch of Buffalo

39-year-old Timothy Budek of Buffalo

46-year-old Robert Jones of Buffalo

35-year-old Amanda McClain of Buffalo

27-year-old Anthony Gulnac of Tonawanda

34-year-old John Pasinski of Springville

58-year-old Lawrence Foggie of Buffalo

44-year old Demetrius Calhoun of Buffalo