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71-year-old Johnson City man charged in $500,000 fraud case

DEE GOODIN • Jan 11, 2007 at 10:39 AM

JOHNSON CITY - A 71-year-old Johnson City man has been charged with trying to fraudulently obtain close to $500,000.

Richard Fregosi, 3413 Stoneridge Drive, was arrested by Johnson City Police Department officers Wednesday, and he was arraigned in sessions court by video Thursday morning.

According to his arrest warrant, police were approached in July 2006 by Donnie Persinger, who told investigators he had received nine travelers checks from Fregosi totaling $4,500 to repay bad checks Fregosi reportedly wrote to Persinger. The first check was written June 18 in the amount of $3,800, and the second was written 10 days later for the amount of $3,900. Persinger said the two checks had been returned due to insufficient funds.

Further investigation revealed that on March 11, Fregosi allegedly took a $56,000 counterfeit check to First Tennessee Bank, 2112 N. Roan St., and tried to wire $30,000 to Spain then withdrew $26,000.

Police say Fregosi attempted to repay the bank the $26,000 with nine counterfeit money orders totaling $8,850.

Investigators then spoke to the branch manager of Greater Eastern Credit Union's Mountcastle Drive branch, who told police he had deposited 16 United States Postal money orders totaling $13,600. The warrant stated Fregosi was advised by the branch manager that the items he had brought in were counterfeit and he was "getting scammed."

Fregosi then allegedly tried to deposit six checks ranging in amounts from $20,220 to $83,918.

The warrant states Fregosi was told by both First Tennessee Bank and Greater Eastern Credit Union that the checks and money orders he was attempting to deposit were counterfeit.

The fake money orders and checks totaled $489,770.70. He has been charged with 44 counts of criminal simulation and two counts of passing worthless checks.

Fregosi remained in the Washington County Detention Center on $152,000 bond.

He is scheduled to next appear in sessions court on Tuesday.

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