Tulsa police are looking for criminals who they say are asking homeless people to cash fraudulent checks on their behalf.
The person who cashes the check is the one who gets arrested, leading advocates to warn their clients to be on the lookout.
Police say a car pulled up to the bus terminal Thursday morning and asked some people if they needed work. But the work was far from what they thought it would be.
“Our folks are very trusting and, if someone says ‘work,’ they are going to jump in with them without really asking,” said Sandra Lewis, the Executive Director of the Tulsa Day Center.
Lewis says a car also pulled into the Day Center on Thursday and asked some people if they needed work.
She says this happens often, but the people usually come inside and tell employees about the job first.
“This person didn’t even come in the building,” she said. “He was just yelling at people walking outside.”
A few hours later, police responded to People’s State Bank on a report of a fraudulent check being cashed. Officers say they quickly realized that things weren’t what they seemed to be.
“They admitted they were homeless and stated they were picked up from the bus station by two unknown individuals,” said Corporal Matt Rose.
Police say the two suspects drove them to a motel and printed their real names on fraudulent checks before driving them around to different banks.
“They may change their clothes, they may give them a shower, they may completely spruce them up, so to speak, and then they take them to the banks using their real names,” said Rose.
Corporal Rose says, usually, the homeless people are promised some cash out of the deal, while the group pockets the rest. However, if they get caught, it could cost them a lot more.
“Guess who’s going to get arrested. Not the guy driving the car, but the person that goes in the bank to cash the hot check,” Lewis said.
Police say they usually don’t prosecute the homeless people caught in this situation, but Lewis is using this as an opportunity to warn them.
“Unless you know what they want, don’t go get in the car with them,” stated Lewis.
According to police, the suspects were driving a silver four-door sedan, but they are still working to get more information.
Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.