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Salem Police Seek to End Identity Theft/Fraud RingSalem-News.com
The crimes took place in Oregon and California, at this time the losses are in excess of $100,000.
(SALEM) - Salem Police and Marion County Sheriff's deputies are investigating multiple forgeries and identity thefts that are related and involve a group of Hispanic suspects traveling through Oregon. They are looking for two men that they believe are involved.
Police Spokesman Lt. Bill Kohlmeyer says that in September and October 2006, these suspects were involved in burglaries of construction related businesses in Aumsville, Klamath Falls, Oregon City, Salem, and Stayton, "In each of these incidents payroll checkstock was stolen from the company, forged and negotiated at the account holders' banks. In some instances, the burglaries went unnoticed until the checks were processed and identified as forgeries." Some of the businesses reported being approached a few days prior to the forgeries by a pair of Hispanic males who inquired about employment. These subjects were seen leaving in a gold colored vehicle, similar to a Ford Expedition with Oklahoma license plates.
In November 2006, this group victimized a business in the Eugene area and forged stolen payroll checks. They also were seen in Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo, California in December 2006.
As recently as January 19th, this group returned to the Salem area and cashed stolen checks from two similar local businesses.
Kohlmeyer says police want to heighten business owners' awareness to securing their payroll checkstock, especially at locations which may not have alarm systems. "It appears these suspects are spending considerable amounts of time at the locations to research and find examples of the check issuers' signature and employee addresses." He adds that the suspects are presenting counterfeit California and Idaho identification cards when cashing the checks.
The alias used on the forged checks include Pablo Sandoval, Manuel Laguna R, Manuel Larana Vela, Ruben Ortega, and Lester Morales Oliva. These appear to be fictitious or names of Identity Theft Victims. Kohlmeyer says police are anxiouus to make contact with the suspects, "We would also like to locate these individuals to arrest them."
At this time he says the losses are in excess of $100,000.
If anyone sees these suspects, they are asked to call 911. Anyone with information regarding this group is asked to call Salem Police Detective Michael Korcek 503-588-6050 ext. 7159.
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