Pair charged in fake check scheme

by Kate Shunney

Two Great Cacapon residents were charged late last week with planning to carry out a fake check scheme in the local area.

Lindsay A. Wruck, 37, and Joseph A. Watkins, 32, both of Kilgore Lane, were charged on Friday, March 6 with felony conspiracy to commit fraudulent schemes.

According to criminal complaints filed in Morgan County Magistrate Court, Deputy Burkholder of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department stopped a white U-Haul truck with Arizona plates in the area of U.S. Silica last Thursday shortly before 11:30 p.m. for having no tail lights.

Burkholder reported that Watkins, the driver, was driving on a suspended license. The officer also noted the truck registration didn’t match the license plate.

Deputy Tony Link with K-9 Ronin assisted at the stop, and the K-9 alerted on the vehicle.

According to police, they located numerous blank business checks for various businesses, a computer tower, keyboard and printer/scanner. Officers also allegedly found numerous used needles, pills and a smoking device with residue.

The truck also contained checks and documents associated with two other individuals, who police later determined had tried to pass a fraudulent check at a local used car lot to buy a vehicle.

Deputy Burkholder had earlier been contacted by the car lot owner. That individual said four people in a white U-Haul had come to his business and tried to use a $9,500 cashier’s check to buy a vehicle. According to police, the four had left the business while the lot owner was on the phone trying to verify the validity of the check with Wells Fargo.

Watkins and Wruck allegedly told police they were at that car lot with two others and attempted to buy a vehicle with a Wells Fargo check. They also allegedly told police the two other subjects had bought a vehicle from another used car lot south of Berkeley Springs, but they were unsure if the check used to make the purchase was fraudulent or not.

Watkins and Wruck allegedly told police they were aware the other parties were printing fake checks. Watkins and Wruck reportedly admittted they would get a percentage of the proceeds for helping to cash the checks.

Both were being held at the Eastern Regional Jail at press time in lieu of a $1,500 bond each.