A jury convicted a 25-year-old man Tuesday in a scheme to deposit forged checks at a Normal bank and then withdraw the money from ATMs before the bad checks could be discovered.
Reginald Cooper was charged with organizing a continuing financial crime enterprise, a Class X felony, McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said in a statement. He was arrested in May.
Cooper’s scheme involved having people open multiple checking accounts and then depositing the forged checks, then withdrawing the cash. The scheme ran from July 2016 to May 2017, Chambers said. Cooper was accused of stealing $2,750 during the trial.
The State of Illinois has made this offense carry a higher penalty because the nature of it involves drawing other individuals into criminal activity when those individuals may not otherwise be involved in breaking the law, Chambers said.
“The jury’s verdict is a reflection of the excellent work by the Normal and Bloomington Police departments during this complex investigation,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Brad Rigdon, who lead the prosecution. “Hopefully this sends a message that this type of financial crime enterprise which manipulates and harms so many people will not be tolerated by the community.”
Cooper is set for sentencing Aug. 25, though a quicker sentencing date is possible.
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