What started as a traffic stop for weed led to Georgia authorities uncovering a check cashing and mail fraud scheme.
What happened: The Elite Blackhawk Squad – yes, Clayton County has a traffic team by that name and one of their specialties is detect weeds en route – stopped a man for talking on his cell phone and allegedly smoking a “marijuana cigar” which one can only assume was a larger-than-average joint.
New sheriff-elect Levon Allen said in a press release that when elite officers searched the joint-smoking gentleman’s vehicle, they found a plastic FedEx FDX Package of 54 checks, all postmarked from New York, totaling nearly $66,000. Investigators also learned that 30-year-old Marquavius Shanard Williams was wanted by the Atlanta Police Department for aggravated assault, probation violation, possession of MDMA and possession of a firearm.
Blackhawk Squad contacted a victim during their investigation who said she did not know Williams and how he obtained one of their checks.
How do check thieves do it? Organised crime
Georgia State University criminologist David Maimon told Channel 2 Action News that checks are posted online by criminals for other criminals to use.
“They take pictures, upload them to platforms and upload them for sale,” Maimon said in an interview last year. “It’s not a group of youngsters stealing your mail. We are talking about organized crime groups who, at the end of the day, know exactly what they are doing.”
Meanwhile the US Postal Service reports an increase in mail theft with more than 25,000 reported incidents so far in 2023, according to data released on May 12. Robberies against postmen are also on the rise, officials said. “We are stepping up our efforts to protect our postal workers and the security of the postal service,” said the chief of the US Postal Inspection Service Gary Barksdale, add that…