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Check Counterfeiter Gets Seven Years in Prison

Warwick Police Headquarters at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive.
Warwick Police Headquarters.
Warwick Police Headquarters.

Warwick, RI – A Providence man convicted in February for his part in a counterfeit check scheme, “Operation Check-Mate,” defrauding banks of about $800,000, will serve seven years in federal prison thanks to an investigation by members of the Secret Service, Providence Police, RI Troopers and Warwick Police.

At sentencing Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi also ordered Ernest Kar, 34, of Providence, to serve a consecutive sentence of 9 months imprisonment for violating the terms of supervised release on a prior federal conviction in South Dakota for passing counterfeit checks. Additionally, Kar was ordered to serve a term of 5 years of supervised upon completion of his prison terms and to pay restitution in the amount of $532,152, according to a release from United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

Kar was one of nine people charged in U.S. District Court in Providence or in Rhode Island state court for their participation in the fraudulent check-cashing scheme, which was dubbed “Operation Check-Mate.”

According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, between October 2010 and January 2014, Kar and his co-conspirators created counterfeit checks via computer, recruited account holders who agreed to have the fake checks deposited into their accounts in exchange for cash, and then made cash withdrawals from the accounts. Many of the counterfeit checks were drawn on the accounts of several legitimate businesses, Neronha’s office reports.

In December, during a joint federal and state investigation,  Warwick Police discovered items used to create counterfeit checks inside a room Kar was staying in at the Motel 6 in Warwick and inside his vehicle, leading to his arrest on the charges.

Three co-defendants, Jerry Zeah, 25, Garty Togbasi, 28, and John Sumo, 28, all of Providence, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and are serving sentences of 30 months in federal prison. A fourth co-defendant, Allarick Hill, 37, of Pawtucket, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud is currently serving a sentence of 37 months in federal prison.

Four other co-defendants in this matter are being prosecuted on state charges in Rhode Island Superior Court.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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