Boyle County police are hearing from victims of an alleged scam involving counterfeit traveler's checks, cashier's checks and money orders.
The scheme came to light Tuesday night in Boyle County, and led police to find $161,300 worth of fake documents in a Nicholasville apartment.
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"Right now, I've got people from all over the state of Kentucky who have been scammed by this program," said Boyle County Deputy Sheriff Marty Elliott. "I've never seen anything of this nature."
Two people have been arrested and a third arrest is coming, Elliott said.
Tammy Gomez, 42, of Nicholasville, and Timothy Preston, 39, of Harrodsburg were both charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony. They remain lodged in the Boyle County jail.
Elliott said Preston attempted to pass a counterfeit document Tuesday night at the Trading Post convenience store in Parksville, a community southwest of Danville.
Employees were wary about the document, Elliot said, because a similar document had previously passed at that store. That document came back from the bank stamped "counterfeit."
The store alerted 911 and employees continued to talk to Preston until police arrived and detained him, Elliott said.
Gomez, meanwhile, left the store in a vehicle but was stopped by police in nearby Junction City, east of Parksville. During a search of the vehicle, police found United Parcel Service receipts for documents sent all over the United States, including Texas, California, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin.
A search of the Gomez apartment on Beauford Place in Nicholasville uncovered $161,300 worth of traveler's checks, cashier's check and money orders that were about to be distributed, Elliott said.
Police were told the documents originated in South Africa. Gomez and Preston were to distribute the documents from Central Kentucky to addresses throughout the country. The people would then cash them and send part of the proceeds back to Gomez and Preston, who in turn would wire money to South Africa. The two were then to receive 10 percent of the proceeds.
Elliott said he doesn't think there is a South African connection. He suspects that Preston and Gomez were themselves being scammed by "somebody in the states."
In any case, "Several people from other counties are calling me, telling me they've been affected by this," Elliott said. "We're getting banks contacting us, saying 'We've cashed these things.'"
Elliott said he intends to contact the U.S. Treasury Department or the FBI about the matter. Kentucky State Police have also expressed interest in the operation, he said.
Boyle Deputy Sheriffs Al Isaacs and Derek Robbins are assisting in the investigation.