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Police: Homeless used in check-cashing scheme that stole $1,000s

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 06 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 07 2012 10:25:05 PM CST

Police in Wyomissing say they've busted a fake check- cashing scheme.

WYOMISSING, Pa. -

Police say they have broken up a massive counterfeiting scam that was going on  in Berks County.

And that's not all.

You won't believe who the ringleaders were recruiting to do their dirty work.

Police say these cold-hearted criminals were shipping homeless people into the area all the way from Baltimore, Maryland bringing them to Berks County so they could cash phoney checks.

Yolanda Phillips, 36, from Baltimore, probably had no clue that when she came to Berks County, she would end up behind bars.

 She's the latest to be charged in a massive counterfeiting check scam.

"They were making counterfeit checks, purported to be drawn on a Wyomissing borough business account," said Detective David Yoch with the Wyomissing Police Department.

Police say the criminals walked into several Berks County banks with fake checks but walked out with some very real cash.

They hit up places like Metro Bank in Exeter Township and Vist Bank in Wyomissing.

But police say the ringleaders weren't doing all the dirty work.           

They say they were hiring vulnerable homeless people and drug addicts to seal the deal.

"It's just people taking advantage of other people, instead of doing the dirty work  themselves, they're recruiting other people to go do their dirty work," said Det. Yoch.

Police say three more people involved in this scam were arrested Friday after trying to cash more phoney check at a VIST Bank on Berkshire Boulevard.

"I think every time the holiday season comes around there's always someone looking to to find another way or a better way, instead of working for the money, to get free money, essentially," said Det. Yoch.

The three people arrested Friday almost got away but thanks to some expert police teamwork those alleged criminals were stopped in their tracks on 222 by Cumru Township Police.