Operator of counterfeit check scheme sentenced

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The operator of a St. Louis-area counterfeit check ring has been sentenced to more than four years in prison.

The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis says 22-year-old Cuevas Ban'e Cost Jr. of Atlanta was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to several charges. Five other co-defendants — three from Atlanta and two from St. Louis — were previously sentenced.

Federal prosecutors say the scheme in 2010 used homeless people to cash counterfeit checks in St. Louis city, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. Members of the conspiracy stole checks from business mailboxes, then used the information on the stolen checks to make counterfeit checks payable to homeless people they recruited.

Officials believe the value of the counterfeit checks amounted to at least $42,407.

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