LAYTON — Two Georgia men recruited a homeless man to cash a fraudulent check for them, but the scheme fell apart when a bank teller detected the forgery, police said in a probable cause statement.
Layton officers on Wednesday arrested Tony Hutchison and Malik Wright, both 21, and the men were booked into the Davis County Jail in Farmington on 16 counts of third-degree felony forgery and one count of misdemeanor attempted theft.
Hutchison and Wright are part of a financial crime group that travels from state to state, enticing homeless people or drug addicts to cash large checks for them, police alleged in the arrest affidavit.
The Georgia men flashed a large amount of cash at a homeless man in downtown Salt Lake City, asking him if he wanted to make some money, according to the police document.
They drove the man to Layton, where they bought him new clothing at a department store, it said. At their next stop, a Zions Bank branch, the homeless man was given a check for $1,989 and told to cash it and split the money with them.
But a teller determined the check was fraudulent and the bank called police. The homeless man left the bank and the three men drove away but were soon pulled over by Layton officers in Clearfield.
Police said the homeless man told them he needed money and agreed to cash the check for the others. He told them Hutchison stored cash in his jacket sleeve pocket and Wright hid a stack of checks in the fabric liner of the vehicle’s sun visor.
Wright and Hutchison would not talk to officers, the police document said.
Officers said they found $3,096 in cash in a pocket of Hutchinson’s jacket. After obtaining a warrant, they searched the vehicle and found 15 fraudulent checks, police said.
The homeless man was released.
Second District Judge Michael Edwards signed an order Thursday requiring that Wright and Hutchinson be held without bail pending trial.
In a statement asking for the no-bail order, police said detainees from out of state in such alleged financial schemes often post bail and return to their home states to avoid prosecution.