>PREPARED BY DETECTIVE LIEUTENANT STEPHEN DOLLINGER
(Middletown NJ) – The Middletown Police Department and the United States Secret Service have concluded their joint investigation into a fraudulent check ring with the arrests of three additional suspects. The investigation began in June of 2010 when First Boston Financial Inc. and Greco Brothers of New Jersey Inc., both sister companies, reported that numerous checks had been fraudulently cashed against their business accounts.
Dfc. Lawrence Hall of the Middletown Police Department conducted a joint investigation with the United States Secret Service which determined that the payments made to Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey by the companies for their employee’s health benefits premiums had been compromised when two employees of Horizon had photocopied the original checks submitted as payment and then gave the copies to other members of the ring.
The information from the copies was then used to produce counterfeit checks which were then cashed. The three additional arrests have brought the number of people charged in the investigation to fourteen.
Police reported the arrests of Shalitha Banks, age 42, from Tiffany Blvd in Newark, NJ, Derricka Thomas, age 35, from Chadwick Avenue Newark, NJ and Aaron Stevens, age 40, from Netherwood Place, also in Newark. Banks and Thomas were employees of Horizon who police say photocopied the checks and provided them to Stevens. Stevens would then use the information form the checks to create fraudulent checks which were then cashed.
Banks and Thomas were each charged with Conspiracy to commit theft by deception. Banks was released on her own recognizance and Thomas was held on $20,000.00 bail with no 10% option. Stevens was charged with Conspiracy to commit theft by deception and Theft by deception. He was held on $100,000.00 bail with no 10% option. Bail on all subjects was set by Judge Richard Thompson.
Police reported that Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield was extremely cooperative throughout the entire investigation.