Check fraud at local grocer connected to larger “ring”

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

(Lander, WY) – 28-year-old Jason Brown is facing one count of forgery and one count possession of forged writings. These charges come after he allegedly cashed three fraudulent checks, totaling over $800, at a local grocery store in December 2019.

Brown pleaded “not guilty” in District Court on December 21st, 2020 following a Circuit Court hearing earlier in the month. A jury trial has now been set for May 2021.

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According to court documents, Lander grocer Mr. D’s reported 4 fraudulent checks that had been cashed totaling $1,075.76 to the Lander Police Department in January 2020.

Three of the four fraudulent checks were allegedly from the “Rustyworks LLC DBA Rusty Truck” and a fourth was from the “Indian Trust Settlement.” These account numbers on all of the checks were wrong and do not exist. LPD reviewed the video surveillance from Mr. D’s of the four checks being cashed.

The first check was cashed mid-afternoon on December 24th, 2019 for the amount of $197.73. This check was supposedly written to a female payee.

A second check was cashed later on the same day for the amount of $197.63 that was made out to a male payee.

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On December 30th, 2019 a third check that was made out to the same male payee was cashed in the amount of $482.67.

The next day, a fourth check made out to the same male payee was also cashed in the amount of $197.73.

Court documents state this case is connected to a case being investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Wind River Reservation. The BIA Special Agent investigating the case on the WRR also reviewed the video surveillance footage of the checks being cashed at Mr. D’s.

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According to the court documents, “he [the agent] was able to immediately identify Jason Brown and Caleb Sanchez as the ones cashing the four fraudulent checks.” From the footage, Brown was identified as cashing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th checks.

The agent reportedly recognized them from “prior law enforcement contacts as well as them being involved in several fraudulent check cashing transactions at the Hines General Store totaling over $14,000.”

In addition, the agent reported learning throughout their investigation that “a check writer is being used to make the fraudulent checks on the reservation.”

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The alleged male payee that three of the four checks were written to “denied any involvement and didn’t know why his name was on the checks.” The agent “suspected the ‘ring’ is stealing identifications from tribal members and using them to cash the checks.”

During the Circuit Court hearing on December 2nd, 2020 it was reported Brown “was given a check to cash at Mr. D’s…by a Christopher Roberts on 3 different occasions.”

Brown presented an I.D. each time with the name of the male payee, and endorsed each check under the payees’ name, according to court documents. The money from the cashed checks was then given to Roberts.

The same 3 forged checks are being presented under each of the two counts Brown is currently facing – rather than to charge 3 individual forgery counts and 3 individual possession of forged writing counts.

Forgery is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of no more than $10,000, or both. Possession of forged writings is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, a fine of no more than $5,000, or both.

At this time, no other court information has been released to County 10 about the other suspects, Sanchez and Roberts.

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