Suspect held in fake check scheme at Guilford bank

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 6:07 AM EST
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — Police have arrested a New Haven man who they believe was involved in a check-cashing scam that hit several area towns last summer.

Fausto Visciano, 23, was arraigned Tuesday and was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail on charges related to an August incident at the NewAlliance Bank in Guilford.

Police said that 12 people tried to cash fraudulent payroll checks there from a Shoreline restaurant.

Bank employees cashed nine of the checks, totaling almost $7,000, before becoming suspicious, Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Hutchinson said.

“They all came in together and suggested it was their payroll checks,” he said. “They cashed some, and then when they were having troubles getting the others cashed, they just left.”

Also in August, a similar incident took place at a NewAlliance branch in Westbrook, in which 23 people cashed fake payroll checks from the Water’s Edge Resort, according to state police. The suspects in that case obtained more than $19,000, police said.

And the same month, several people used fake identification cards to cash checks at Liberty Tree Financial Services in North Haven, police said.

State police Lt. J. Paul Vance said the department is still investigating the Westbrook incident.

“We’ve shared information between two departments as we have done since the original incidents took place, and Guilford, I’m sure, made their arrests, and I would suspect we would be close behind,” he said. He would not say whether state police have applied for an arrest warrant in the case.

Hutchinson said Visciano was one of the people who entered the bank in Guilford, and that surveillance video and anonymous information led to the arrest. Visciano was charged with second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny, two counts of third-degree forgery and criminal impersonation.

The federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency and the Office of the Inspector General, which oversees the Social Security Administration, are also investigating the incidents because of the use of false names and Social Security numbers, Hutchinson said.

“A lot of agencies were interested in the outcome obviously because they had been victimized in their towns as well,” he said.

He added that Guilford does not have any more arrests pending in the case, although more arrests could be forthcoming either in Guilford or the other towns.

“We don’t have any other complaints,” he said. “It’s a continuing investigation involving a lot of people and a lot of agencies, so something more may come out of it.”

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