A man arrested for cashing a counterfeit check at a Cary bank now faces charges that he had 136 phony checks with account information from banks in Georgia and California, and police suspect a larger scheme could be in play.
Police had arrested Lenzy Odell Douglass, 40, on July 15 on charges of uttering a forged instrument and obtaining property by false pretenses for a June 15 check-cashing.
Thursday, Cary detectives added charges that Douglass had 81 phony checks with routing and account information for a person with an account at a Wells Fargo bank branch in Alpharetta, Ga.
They also accused Douglass of having 55 checks with account information that belongs to an education company with an account at a Bank of America branch in Santa Ana, Calif.
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In both cases, police said in the charges that Douglass had the checks “made and shipped” to him.
On Thursday police also accused Douglass of going into a Suntrust branch on North Harrison Avenue on June 6 to cash a check made out to him from one of those accounts.
A magistrate who set Douglass’ bail at $100,000 for the new charges – bringing the total to $200,000 – noted that Douglass had been convicted in Maryland of a scheme similar to what Cary police said was going on here.
Detectives who filed the charges reported that they believed Douglass was part of “an extensive fraudulent check-cashing scheme,” the magistrate wrote in saying Douglass should be considered a flight risk.
Capt. Randall Rhyne, who heads investigations for Cary police, said detectives suspected Douglass had passed or tried to pass counterfeit checks elsewhere, and they are working with other local departments in the ongoing investigation.
Douglas has pending charges in Durham County for uttering a forged instrument and misdemeanor larceny.
The magistrate noted that Douglass had served a prison sentence in Maryland, and online court records show him being charged dozens of times in Baltimore other counties with charges involving checks and credit cards.
Douglas lives at 504 Misty Groves Circle in Morrisville.