A Wake County man who ran grocery stores in Chatham and Nash counties was sentenced Tuesday to 20 months in federal prison for a check-cashing scheme that the government said cost it $2.5 million.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Jose Alfonso Rodriguez Collado, 54, of Wendell had pleaded guilty to theft of government funds.
The U.S. attorney’s office charged that Collado’s stores in Middlesex and Siler City cashed fraudulently obtained Treasury checks without asking for any identification from the people cashing them.
Collado did not have a license to cash checks until one of the people involved gave him $50,000 to get one, the Justice Department said in a statement.
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Cashing the checks got Collado a fee higher than state law allows, prosecutors said. They also said Collado also skipped the required reporting when checks were bigger than $10,000.
After he gets out of prison, U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan ordered, Collado will be on three years’ parole.
He also was told he has to repay the government $2,502,348.