CLINTON, MS (WLBT) – Hinds County deputies bust members of an interstate counterfeiting ring who targeted stores in the metro Jackson area.
The take down has launched a multi-state investigation.
Forty-five-year-old Loyce Ann Franklin and her nephew 24-year-old Donti Wyann Franklin, both of Texarkana, Texas, were arrested by Hinds County deputies as a part of an interstate counterfeiting ring.
They were pulled over last Thursday on I-20 in Clinton after using forged checks at the Walmart to purchase items including a $500 gift card.
"We were contacted by Walmart as they were leaving and we had deputies that are stationed on the interstate, Interstate 20 and they were able to stop this couple. They gave very erratic answers, contradictory answers," said Lt. Jeffery Scott, with the Hinds County Sheriff's Dept.
Inside the truck deputies found a computer, blank counterfeit checks, more than $1,000 in cash and Walmart gift cards valued at over $5,000.
Loyce Franklin, who had a fake Air Force ID badge, is charged with forgery, receiving stolen property, uttering a forged instrument and identity theft.
"It would give you a plausible explanation for your being able to write a check three states away from your home state. She's never been anywhere close to a military installation," said the lieutenant.
Donti Franklin is charged with forgery and receiving stolen property.
The two are believed have hit stores in 20 cities.
The Franklins had Google maps highlighting stores in and around Jackson and from Shreveport and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to as far east as Savannah, Georgia.
"Walmarts that we determined that they were targeting were the ones that were immediately right off the interstate, two minutes they're back on the highway," said Scott.
The counterfeit checks bore the names Becky and David Collins with Arlington and Dallas, Texas addresses.
They included actual account numbers and bank and credit union routing numbers.
Investigators said the two wrote bad checks usually purchasing a $500 gift card.
In the next city they would exchange the gift cards for cash.
"This is very sophisticated. It stretches several states. So again we're just trying to see how big it is," added Scott.
They also face charges for the scam in Meridian, Newton and cities in Alabama and Georgia.
The Franklins have made their initial court appearance are ordered held at the Hinds County Detention Center awaiting extradition to other jurisdictions.
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