An alert police officer in Draper is being credited with ending a counterfeiting and fraud ring that stretched over several western states.
A couple was arrested at a Draper motel late last week after the heads-up officer spotted a car with no rear license plate in the parking lot. A follow-up investigation led the officer to a couple inside one of the rooms, a man and woman, who were wanted in Texas and were believed to have committed crimes in Nebraska and Idaho before ending up in Utah, said Draper police detective Pat Evans.
Inside the motel, the officer spotted what he believed to be counterfeit drivers licenses laying out in the open. The officer placed the two people inside under arrest and obtained a search warrant to go through the rest of the room.
Investigators ended up finding hundreds of forged checks and more than a dozen fake Texas drivers licenses, Evans said. Detectives also recovered hundreds of stolen documents with people's personal information including medical records which appeared to have been taken locally, he said. Documents with personal information from a possible time-share company were also found, Evans said. Other items recovered included lap tops, printers, check stock and photo paper.
Police believe the couple had a traveling check manufacturing scheme set up, going from state to state stealing people's identities, printing fake checks and purchasing big ticket items at local stores. Sales receipts from several states were found in the motel room.
A lot of the personal information they were stealing also came from web sites, Evans said. The couple would then those names on fake checks, which were of higher than average quality, he said. The duo would scan the image of a postcard and transpose it onto a check to make it appear to be from a personalized checking account.
"They had talent," Evans said.But police say the couple wasted their talents on illegal activities. The suspects already had an arrest warrant from Texas. Investigators believe the couple was in Utah in July, and then most recently were in Draper for one day before being arrested last week. Local charges were being considered Monday.