Five arrested on forgery charges

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2010

NATCHEZ — Five people are in jail after employees at a local bank noticed something that just didn’t seem right.

The Natchez Police Department arrested Steven Robinson, 32, of 328 Gallatin St., Jackson, Tuesday after he allegedly tried to cash a forged check at United Mississippi Bank in downtown Natchez, Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

Mullins said at approximately 4 p.m., UMB employees contacted the police about a suspicious person trying to cash a check. The check was written on the personal account of a local resident, Mullins said.

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Robinson has been charged with two counts of uttering a forgery.

The investigation into Robinson’s case led police to search three hotel rooms and make four additional arrests on Friday, Mullins said.

Billy Joe Malcom Jr., 26, 2356 Daron Drive, Decatur, Ga.; Santana Terrell Chivers, 23, 3569 Arminto Drive, Ellenwood, Ga., and Chanterrica L. Johnson, 22, 4135 Ward Lake Trail, Ellenwood, Ga., were all charged with six counts of uttering a forgery and one count of conspiracy to commit forgery.

Joseph Benjamin Evans, 51, 187 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, was charged with two counts of uttering forgery.

All five suspects are being detained at the Natchez City Jail without bond until arraignment.

Mullins said in the search of the hotel rooms, investigators recovered a typewriter, a printer, partially printed checks and approximately $7,000 in cash.

Mullins believes approximately $11,000 in checks have been cashed in the Natchez area. All of the cashed checks were written on the same local checking account. Officers are in the process of contacting all the local businesses that cashed the checks to gather more information. Investigators also recovered a rental car from Georgia that the group was traveling in.

“We think they are traveling and try to recruit local people to cash the checks they print,” Mullins said.

The investigation is continuing and charges from other agencies are likely, Mullins said.