Four Georgia men are suspected of stealing mail from area businesses to use as part of an elaborate check cashing scam that totaled more than $150,000.
Authorities arrested 21-year-old Xavier Shields, 25-year-old Ryan Hill, 25-year-old DeMarcus Stevens and 28-year-old Dwight Daniels on Wednesday. They arrested Shields and Daniels during a traffic stop near a Get 'N Go on South Cliff Avenue. They later caught Hill and Stevens at a Sioux Falls Hotel.
The four man face charges for writing at least 48 fake checks, each worth about $1,500 to $2,000.
Authorities say the men stole mail containing legitimate checks from businesses. Most of the businesses are construction companies and one hospital wellness center. They would use the signature, routing number and check number on each check. They scrubbed the "pay to the order of" section. They would then hire transients with photo IDs and write the checks to them so they could cash the checks.
In some cases, they would even dress the transients up as construction workers, so it would look like they worked for the construction companies when they went to the banks. Police say the men paid the transients $150.
It is the most elaborate check scam Sioux Falls Police have seen and they have been looking for these men for weeks. Police received numerous tip calls, including one from a hotel housekeeper who found an envelope full of blank checks. In one case, a company got a call from a vendor saying it was not receiving payments.
The men could face more charges. Three of the men have criminal records in Georgia.