In the past 90 days more than a quarter of a million dollars in counterfeit checks has been cashed around Dothan, and authorities believe arrests they've made are only the beginning of dismantling a large scale operation.
Authorities say those behind this operation were making $5,000 to $6,000 a day. Some of this area's largest employers fell victim to the scheme, and authorities believe there is still more damage to be done.
What started out as a drug bust Friday afternoon led to the recovery of a frighteningly professional looking counterfeit operation.
Three Dothan residents were immediately arrested and charged in the case, Eddie Seago, Zachary Kirkland, and Michael Richardson.
Sheriff's investigators believe they are the main players behind the operation and could be responsible for victimizing businesses like Southeast Alabama Medical Center, Swedish Match and Twitchell Corporation.
Brant Locklier said, "Basically we had two checks that we wrote to suppliers, and at a some point in time they were intercepted before they got to the supplier and a copy of the check was made. They, in turn, proceeded to write those checks on a printer, made them look authentic, then took them to a vendor, a grocery store or a Wal-Mart and got the checks cashed."
Authorities say the suspects also produced checks as copies of payroll checks from area employers, equipped with valid routing numbers and authentic looking signatures.
Sheriff Lamar Glover said, "One good thing about it is when we confiscated all this, we've stopped that much. But we don't know how many are still left out there to be cashed. Hopefully there will be some people out there who will listen and be very careful in cashing these checks."
Authorities still have at least three other suspects who they believe are involved in the operation. They also say there will more than likely be several more arrests in the coming days.
The businesses that have been taken advantage of by this operation have the possibility of getting their money back from the suspects through court-ordered restitution. Otherwise, the money will be a total loss if the company is not insured for it.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Houston County Sheriff's Department at 677-4809.