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Chubbuck PD busts multi-state forgery scheme, seizes $13,844 and multiple blank checks

Crime Watch

CHUBBUCK — Four Texas men have been charged with attempting to pass a forged check at a Chubbuck bank.

Quinton Jamal Hawkins, 28, Johntay Jajuan Taylor, 25, Anthony Reimer Mares, 30, and Kemon Rashad Witt, 30, have each been charged with felonies for forgery and criminal conspiracy.

Chubbuck police received a call from a bank located on the 800 block of West Quinn Road around 1:45 p.m. on Aug. 3, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The caller told police that a man attempted to pass a fake check using a fake Texas driver’s license with the name Malcolm Johnson. The check the man had tried to pass was made out from a Kalispell, Montana, bank in the amount of $4,754. According to police reports, the check was endorsed by Malcolm Johnson. However the signature on the front of the check was “obviously printed.”

The caller described the man as having medium-length dreadlocks and said that the man got into a blue Chevrolet sedan.

When Chubbuck dispatch put out the call, a detective in an unmarked vehicle happened to be near the bank and saw the Chevy leaving the area. Because the detective was in an unmarked vehicle and not wearing a ballistic vest, they decided not to make a stop. Instead, they followed the Chevy relaying its position to other officers.

Eventually, a trooper with the Idaho State Police stopped the Chevy on Interstate 86, near exit 67.

Chubbuck police and Bannock deputies arrived shortly after to assist.

As officers approached the vehicle, they found four men inside, the affidavit says.

The man matching the description provided by the 911 caller, identified as Hawkins, spoke with officers, saying that he and the other three men had been traveling from Texas visiting casinos.

Officers told Hawkins that he matched the description of a man who had just attempted to pass a fake check at a bank. He responded, “If that’s what they’re saying happened, it’s true,” the affidavit says. He added that he had attempted to cash a check but had been denied.

Officers found Hawkins in possession of a Texas driver’s license with his picture and the name Malcolm Johnson.

As other officers questioned the other men inside the car, the man in the front passenger seat, later identified as Taylor, was holding a black bag. When officers told him to leave the bag in the car and get out, he was described as “reluctant to leave the bag behind” and asked if it was necessary.

Mares, who along with Hawkins was in the backseat, told officers that the bag contained money. Mares and Taylor both admitted to cashing fraudulent checks, the affidavit says.

Before the four men were taken to the ISP District 5 office for an interview, officers found $3,742 in Hawkins’ possession. They also found Mares in possession of $1,896 and Witt, the driver, in possession of $867. Finally, officers found $3,821 in Taylor’s bag.

A search of the car uncovered a safe disguised as a dictionary. Inside the safe was three fake blank checks from a business in Blanchard, Oklahoma, and a leather notebook officers believed to be a ledger.

In speaking with the bank employee who called 911, officers discovered that the ID Hawkins had attempted to use to cash the check had been flagged for cashing a fake check at a bank in Montana on July 26.

Hawkins admitted that the ID was fake but did not answer when he was asked about cashing fake checks, according to the affidavit. When officers told him he was caught on camera by the Montana bank, Hawkins finally did admit to the scheme.

After further questioning at ISP District 5 offices, all four men were taken to Bannock County Jail for booking. During the booking process, Witt was found in possession of an additional $3,518.

Chubbuck police seized all money.

Though Hawkins, Mares, Taylor and Witt have been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean they committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If they are found guilty, each man could face up to 21 years in prison.

They are scheduled to appear in court before Magistrate Judge David Cousin for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 16.

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