Check fraud shopping spree

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A husband and wife were Identified by video surveillance and charged with a number of offenses after they allegedly stole a check book and used it to go on a shopping spree in Slidell, La.

The incident apparently began when a Picayune resident allowed her grandchild’s father, Anthony Scott Smith Jr., to enter her home to retrieve swim goggles in May.

Donna Spears said her daughter had a child with Smith during a previous relationship. While the child was attending a swim party, apparently she forgot to give the child his swim goggles, so she allowed Smith and his wife, Amanda Smith, to enter her house to get them since she was out of town for the weekend. When she returned to her home she noticed her check book and Social Security card were missing.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“That was bad judgment on my part, but I thought that since I would be seeing them for the rest of our lives that I could trust them,” Spears said.

She filed a report with the Picayune Police Department about the missing check book, but at the time did not suspect couple.

On May 5, Spears contacted her bank to report the checks missing, putting a stop payment on them. However, over the previous weekend, the couple who eventually was charged in the incident allegedly went on a shopping spree at six Slidell, La., stores, spending $1,361.44, according to a press release from the Slidell Police Department. The shopping spree took place on May 3, and May 4.

Spears was called later by a Slidell Wal-Mart about the checks.

Surveillance video allowed the Slidell police and Spears to identify the suspects as Amanda and Anthony S. Smith Jr., both of 398 Bay Street.

“I was totally shocked that it was them,” Spears said.

Two of the store’s employees also recognized Anthony Smith from the videos, said Slidell Police Public Information Officer Capt. Kevin Foltz.

Amanda Smith, 21, was charged with 11 counts of theft, nine counts of monetary instrument abuse and nine counts of forgery.

Anthony Smith Jr., 24, was charged with nine counts of being a principal to theft, nine counts of being a principal to identity theft, nine counts of being a principal to monetary instrument abuse and nine counts of being a principal to forgery, according to the release.

Both suspects were released from the St. Tammany Parish Jail on a $16,000 bond each on June 28, the release states.

On July 4, both the suspects were arrested on an affidavit that Spears signed with the Picayune Police Department for petit larceny, Picayune Police reports state.

Foltz said the case is still under investigation in an attempt to locate the property purchased at the Slidell stores with the allegedly forged checks.