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Trio accused of fake check scheme involving homeless people

A group of men are facing federal charges involving counterfeit checks after police say they were found with a typewriter, an embossing machine, and checks totaling $127,000.

One of the men told authorities that the scheme involved recruiting homeless people to walk inside banks and cash the fake checks.

An Origin Bank employee in Flowood called police on Jan. 3 to report that someone was trying to cash a fraudulent check. Flowood detectives stopped a car nearby, a U.S. Secret Service special agent wrote in an affidavit.

The men inside told the officers they’d just dropped their wives off at the mall. Police say they then found the evidence of counterfeit checks inside the car, authorities said.

Michael Wendell Harvey told the agent that he finds homeless people to cash the fake checks, using the typewriter to write their names on the checks, an affidavit states.

Harvey, Jeral Leo Blackmon and Willie Thomas are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. A lawyer for Harvey didn’t immediately return messages for comment. It wasn’t known whether Blackmon or Thomas have attorneys who could be reached for comment on their behalf.

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