The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has arrested seven people suspected of taking part in a ring that produced fraudulent IDs and checks.
It appears the group manufactured fake identification cards and checks to withdraw money that they then used to buy drugs, said Doug Rainwater, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
According to Rainwater, those involved were using bank account information stolen from companies to make fake checks on a printer in the business name to an individual.
“They were making the identification cards to match, so when they went to a bank to cash it, of course, a cashier would say, ‘Can I see your ID please?’” Rainwater said. “So they would make fraudulent names on these IDs.”
The printed identification cards reportedly had the suspects’ photos on them with false names, he said.
The technology used to manufacture these items was found when authorities executed a search warrant in Gwinnett County, based on information in investigation interviews.
“They were doing all this basically to keep their drug habits going,” Rainwater said of the suspects.
The investigation began during an early morning traffic stop for an expired vehicle registration on Hwy. 53 near Blue Ridge Overlook on Sept. 13.
According to a report of the incident, several fake IDs, fraudulent checks and suspected drugs were found in the vehicle, which had three passengers.
Arrested and charged with five counts each of financial ID fraud and third-degree forgery were: Taylor Lynch, 29, of Cumming; Wendy Wade, 32, of Mount Airy; and Dustin Plummer, 27, of Baldwin.
Wade and Plummer also faces charges of possession of methamphetamine, while Lynch was charged with possession of oxycodone.
According to the sheriff’s office, interviews with those three led to the arrest of Paige Lynch, 26, of Cumming, and Jason Benson, 34, of Buford. Both are charged with five counts each of third-degree forgery and financial ID fraud.
Based on information from the suspects, authorities took out search warrants for locations in Gwinnett, where more drugs, fake checks and IDs — as well as printers and computers to make those documents — were found.
That led to the arrests of Richard Stegall, 28, of Gainesville, and Wesley Garrett, 36, of Buford.
Stegall has been charged with three counts of third-degree forgery, and Garrett faces three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.
A variety of suspected drugs were also reportedly recovered at the Gwinnett location, but those charges would be levied in that jurisdiction, Rainwater said.
He said the Forsyth County charges stem from the volume of evidence recovered from the car during the traffic stop.