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Hamilton County indicts five more in alleged check fraud ring

Posted: 3:15 PM, Jun 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-28 15:16:51-04
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CINCINNATI — Hamilton County announced four more people were indicted Friday in an alleged check fraud ring, after the suspected leader of the group was arrested and indicted Monday .

A grand jury indicted DeMarlo Harris, 29, DeShay Melton, 25 and Shammon Richard, 21, on multiple counts of theft, telecommunications fraud and money laundering. An additional defendant, Karen Smith, 27, is charged with telecommunications fraud, forgery and money laundering.

Cincinnati police announced Sunday that officers arrested Vernon Johnson, 26, on a federal probation violation.

According to a news release, Johnson conducted forgery and theft offenses throughout the Greater Cincinnati area and Indiana. Police said Johnson had been targeting Fifth Third Bank locations, Jack Casino, Belterra Park and Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg.

“Of only the four checks they have him charged with here — and there will be many more in the future — but of only the four, we’re talking an actual loss of over $30,000,” said Assistant Prosecutor David Wood. “The smallest check involved was $4,500.”

According to the indictment documents, the defendants allegedly defrauded Fifth Third Bank of more than $1 million, and defrauded Jack Casino out of thousands of dollars.

Johnson has been arrested, and is being held on a $120,000 bond.

A detective speaking in court Monday said Johnson was arrested in Lebanon and was stunned with a Taser because he did not comply with officers.