Posted: Friday, November 2nd 2012 at 2:56pm
Check fraud scheme halted
By Rob Moore Editor
ELBERTON – A former Walmart manager in both Commerce and Elberton faces more than 100 criminal charges related to fraudulent check cashing.
Mary Jo House, 39, of Elberton turned herself in Thursday on 76 felony counts of theft by taking, and 34 misdemeanor counts of the same charge in Elberton.
“She was the manager of the local Walmart here,” said Elberton Police Chief Mark Welsh on Friday.
Welsh said House is said to be responsible for a form of fraud known as check kiting which, by definition, is writing a check for an amount greater than the available balance from an account in one bank to falsely inflate the balance of a checking account so checks that otherwise would bounce will clear.
“We became knowledgeable of it after she left the store here and went to Commerce to manage the store there,” Welsh said.
Welsh said Elberton investigators served the warrants against House on Thursday and she was booked at the Elbert County Detention Center. She has been released on bond on the Elberton charges.
Asked how much money House is charged with taking, Welsh said, “It’s a large amount of money. It’s over $50,000, I believe, but I don’t have it in front of me.”
Welsh said the fraud occurred over an extended period of time.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman said House previously posted bond on felony charges of theft by taking related to incidents at the Walmart Supercenter in Commerce.
“What she was doing is writing checks on a bank in Florida and then she was cashing them there [at Walmart],” Chapman said Friday. “She was the manager at Walmart.”
“I think there was two or three different times, but the D.A. here had [investigators] just put them all on one warrant,” Chapman said. “ … she was writing them knowing they were no good.”
Chapman said the amount of alleged fraud at the Walmart in Commerce was about $3,000.
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