The Forsyth County Superior Court charged a local man with dozens of counts of forgery this week, following an investigation into a flurry of allegedly fraudulent checks that were deposited at several Forsyth County banks in early 2019.
On Dec. 9, 2019, a local grand jury indicted Amer H. Meqdadi, 39, of Forsyth County, for 64 counts of forgery and two counts of computer theft.
According to Detective Cara Soto of the Forsyth County Sheriff Office's High Tech Crimes Unit, between January and March of 2019, Meqdadi allegedly deposited 64 fraudulent Electronic Fund Source (EFS) checks at Regions and Wells Fargo banks in south Forsyth and Cumming, stealing $350,000 from the banks.
EFS checks, according to Soto, are commonly used as payment in the trucking industry, often used to advance a driver's funds, pay repair shops, roadside services, and operate using a set of specific account and authorization codes.
In a normal situation, an EFS check is deposited in person with a teller at the bank, Soto said, so the bank can contact EFS to receive an authorization code before they cash or deposit the check.
But by using an ATM and a mixture of real and fraudulent banking information, Meqdadi was allegedly able to “exploit a flaw in the ATMs” to deposit dozens of checks, ranging in amount between $2,000 and $9,900.
Soto said that money from the alleged scheme was deposited into five different accounts for businesses that Meqdadi controlled and all of the transactions were captured on camera.
According to a sheriff’s office incident report filed in April, a Regions business account representative attempted to resolve issues with the checks in March 2019, was allegedly told by Meqdadi the issue was with the check numbers, which had been “recycled” and would take 30-45 days to straighten out.
The sheriff's office was later told by an EFS representative that Meqdadi’s story about "recycled" check numbers was incorrect, Soto said.
Investigators with Regions and Wells Fargo contacted the sheriff's office in April, and Meqdadi was taken into custody by the sheriff’s office on July 21, 2019. He was later released on a $4,867 bond.
Attempts to reach Meqdadi’s legal representative for comment were unsuccessful as of press time Friday.This case will be presided over by Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson and will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Mahoney.