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Man gets 3 years for counterfeit business checks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 38-year-old Jacksonville man was sentenced Tuesday to three years in federal prison for his involvement in passing multiple counterfeit business checks, and for violating the terms of his federal supervised release.

According to court documents, in October 2013, the pastor from a local church contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and reported that the church's bank account number was being used on counterfeit business checks that were being cashed throughout Duval County.

The Sheriff's Office determined that 10 people had cashed or attempted to cash about 25 counterfeit business checks, purportedly from Waste Management and Ciera Staffing, using the church's bank account number.

From a date unknown, but at least from in or about October 2013, Terrance Smith, in conjunction with others, began obtaining and distributing counterfeit business checks using the church's bank account number. Smith would recruit various individuals and provide transportation to them for the purpose of cashing the checks. When a passer was successful in cashing a check, the proceeds were returned to Smith.

After paying a percentage of the proceeds to the passer, Smith retained the remaining cash, or shared it with others involved in recruiting individuals into the scheme.

On Nov. 13, JSO, U.S. Secret Service, and members of the North Florida High Tech Crime Task Force set up surveillance in a Jacksonville trailer park. A vehicle being driven by Smith, and containing another person, entered the trailer park. Officers conducted an investigative stop of the vehicle after it exited the park. An inventory of the vehicle revealed counterfeit check stubs listing the purported earnings of employees for various companies, along with torn counterfeit checks supposedly issued by Winn-Dixie.