November 17, 2010

Recently Released Inmate Goes On Shopping Spree Using Jail’s Own Checking Account

Albuquerque, New Mexico (The Weekly Vice) - Thomas Stegall, a recently released inmate at the Metro Detention Center in Albuquerque was jailed again after he allegedly went on a shopping spree with the jail's own checking account.

According to police, Stegall was provided a check from the jail, as all inmates are, to assist with the transition from incarceration to life on the outside. But when Stegall received his check, he used the checking account information listed on the check to buy thousands of dollars in merchandise.

Investigators say Stegall made copies of the check and then used the bank's routing numbers and checking account information to produce fraudulent checks. He then purchased thousands of dollars of merchandise while pillaging the jail's checking account.

Using the name "Tom's Construction" Stegall wrote 21 checks at Lowe's Home Improvement, Home Depot and CVS Pharmacy. Lowe's reported losses of nearly $5,000 because of the scam.

Stegall's check writing spree ended when the bank caught onto his scam and notified police. Authorities were able to identify the suspect when he used his own driver's license to guarantee the checks.

MDC chief of corrections, Ronald Torres, stated that this wasn't the first time this has happened, however the jail uses an electronic check-up system to help prevent theft and fraud. Huh?

"We've weighed the pros and cons of giving cash verses checks, but security issues around giving cash are greater," said Torres.

Stegall, who was originally in jail for auto theft, was booked into jail again on 21 counts of fraud and 21 counts of forgery.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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