5 face charges in alleged check cashing ring

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — State and federal authorities say they have charged several Rhode Islanders in connection with a fraudulent check cashing scheme.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha announced Tuesday that the criminal operation cost banks more than $800,000. They say five people face state charges including criminal solicitation and conspiracy. Four face federal charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Authorities accuse the suspects of cashing checks from fake businesses and cashing payroll checks that were created to mimic real businesses. The money was withdrawn before the checks could be identified as fraudulent.

The arrests followed a nearly two-year investigation by local, state and federal authorities dubbed “Operation Check Mate.”

It was unclear Tuesday whether those arrested were represented by attorneys.

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