A Nevada prison officer charged with running a sophisticated counterfeit check scam in Salt Lake City committed suicide earlier this month.

Richard Dale Ward, 50, Carson City, Nev., had been scheduled to go to trial this week in 3rd District Court on four felony counts of forgery.Ward was arrested June 29 at a downtown hotel after four boxes were delivered by United Parcel Service. The boxes contained watches worth $8,000. Police recovered the watches and more than $10,000 worth of counterfeit checks made out to assorted mail-order companies around the country.

Ward had worked the day shift at the Nevada State Penitentiary in Reno the day before his arrest.

The defendant had become despondent recently and shot himself on Oct. 1, said his attorney, Bob Van Sciver.