A fraudulent check-cashing scheme stole more than $60,000 from the Kroger Co. before a group of Pierce County residents was arrested trying to cash fake checks.
Sixteen counterfeit checks were cashed at Pierce County businesses between September 2014 and January 2015, many at Fred Meyer stores. Kroger is the parent company of Fred Meyer.
“The ‘Kroger’ checks were never issued by the legitimate Kroger Company and appear to be forgeries,” according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege Anthony Johnson, 47, was the scheme’s mastermind and used a personal laptop, printer and check-making program to make false payroll checks.
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He is charged with leading organized crime, first-degree identity theft and forgery.
Also charged in the case are Sandra Smith, 36; Michael Davis, 25; Leslie Johnson, 24; and Kandice Lester, 29.
The five are set to be arraigned March 30.