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Arrests in widespread check-fraud scheme

Colfax phony check cashing attempt leads to probe
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The Placer County Sheriff’s Office says it has shut down a widespread fraudulent check-cashing operation, made two arrests and expects to take more suspects into custody.

The scheme coordinated and facilitated phony checks being cashed in at numerous stores and check-cashing businesses stretching from Placer County through the Central Valley to the Bay Area, the Sheriff’s Office said today.

The operation started to unravel after a Sept. 11 attempt by three women to cash two fraudulently created checks worth $3,000 that supposedly originated from a Placer County restaurant.

“One of the suspects had cashed legitimate payroll checks at the Colfax Market on several occasions,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The other two women posed as current employees of the restaurant.”

Aided by the owner of the Colfax Market and the restaurant manager, the three women were identified with the help of surveillance video, sparking a more extensive investigation.

A search warrant was served at a Sacramento apartment Jan. 2. Sheriff’s Office detectives seized hundreds of blank checks, mail believed stolen from Placer and Sacramento and personal checks to apparent victims in both counties.

Detectives also collected evidence related to two home burglaries in the Auburn area, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Arrested and believed by the Sheriff’s Office to be the person coordinating the check-cashing operation was 37-year-old Sacramento resident Matthew Lompri Corona. He remained in South Placer County Jail today, charged with identity theft crimes and fraud. Bail was set at $200,000.

Also arrested on suspicion of ID theft after the apartment search was Daniele Baldoni. She had been released by today.

“The case is still being investigated and additional arrests are suspected soon,” the Sheriff’s Office said.