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NET residents sentenced in counterfeit check scheme

October 1st, 2013 9:36 pm by Matthew Lane

NET residents sentenced in counterfeit check scheme

GREENEVILLE  —  Six Northeast Tennessee residents have been sentenced in connection to a counterfeiting scheme in which  70 Virginia and Tennessee men and women passed fake business checks, including at Walmart stores, making off with more than $90,000 during a six-month period.

The two-count indictment was filed in U.S. District Court in Abingdon in March of this year, and charges the 70 defendants with counterfeiting and conspiracy. Many of the defendants have pleaded guilty and/or been sentenced.

According to court records, the defendants cashed more than $90,000 in counterfeit checks in the name of Cook Trucking at various retail stores, including Walmart, from July 2012 through January 2013.

While most of the defendants hailed from Virginia, at least six were from Northeast Tennessee, including David Garber and Theodore Faulkner  —  both of Kingsport, Darrell Larkins, Amanda Epley, Jeanette Lipsett and Billy Joe Jackson.

All six pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and have been sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Jones. None of the six received prison time, though they faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Garber, sentenced on Sept. 10, received three years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution of $1,322.

The remaining five defendants received similar sentences:

•Epley, sentenced on Sept. 10 to two years ofprobation and $400 restitution.

•Faulkner, sentenced on Aug. 30 to three years of probation and $500 restitution.

•Jackson, sentenced on Aug. 21 to two years of probation and $2,950 restitution.

•Larkins, sentenced on Sept. 9 to three years of probation and $2,000 restitution.

•Lipsett, sentenced on Aug. 26 to three years of probation and $1,030 restitution.

Federal prosecutors recommended a reduced sentence for Garber based upon his “substantial” assistance in the investigation and prosecution of another defendant in the case.

According to court records,  Tina Gillett was the “mastermind” behind the counterfeit check scheme and planned and organized its operation along with providing checks to the other defendants. Gillett used  Buren Cook and Amanda Mosely  —   two  other defendants in the case  —  as her main deputies to pass checks and recruit others to cash  checks.

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