Dumb Criminals

I’m Bailing Away

Thursday, June 8th, 2006 • Filed under Counterfeit

Pop quiz, hot shot. You’ve just been convicted of check and credit card fraud all over the world and you’ve been caught and you’re about to pay your bail. What’s the worst thing you can do? Shoot the bail clerk? Nope. Ask for a reciept signed in blood? No. Set the jail on fire? Not even close. It’s what this Frank Abagnale-wannabe did…

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — A Sacramento identity theft suspect who used a counterfeit $9,800 check to bail himself out of jail pleaded guilty to a variety of fraud and grand theft charges.

Thomas Lewis Samuel, 54, faces seven to 10 years in state prison for conspiracy to commit identity theft, using counterfeit checks, grand theft and credit card violations, prosecutor Keith Lyon said.

Samuel racked up more than $90,000 in fraudulent activity across four counties during a three-month period in 2005, according to the state attorney general’s office, which worked on the case with Santa Cruz County prosecutors.

Samuel passed about 300 counterfeit checks and committed online banking fraud in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Sacramento and Placer counties from July to October of last year, investigators said.

When he was arrested in October, Samuel tried to bail himself out of jail with a counterfeit $3,200 check, but the bail bondsman realized the check was fake. A second fake check for $9,800 went undetected and Samuel was released.

How did the bail bondsman realize the check was a fake? No bank in the world prints a set of “Rabid Puppies” checkbooks.

Committing check fraud after you were just caught committing check fraud won’t win you any brownie points with the DA’s office. It’ll even make the most conniving of defense attorneys detest you, and why should they trust him? All they care about is getting paid.

Check fraud has become such a outdated crime. With identity theft on the rise and credit card information facing such severe technological security problems, committing check fraud is like driving a stagecoach down I-95.

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