In August 2011, personnel from a Castaic church alerted law enforcement that the church's bank account information was stolen and used to counterfeit numerous checks, causing a loss to the church of approximately $1,100. The checks were negotiated in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
During the course of an eight-month-long investigation conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Commercial Crimes Bureau North Fraud Detail, it was determined the suspects were involved in a large scale check counterfeiting operation, affecting 20 different victims, who were all Santa Clarita Valley residents and businesses, and causing a loss of over $16,000.
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In October, 2011, detectives from the Detail served a search warrant at the residence of Suspects Grant Lind, 49, and Tammy Combe, 47, in Newhall. During the search operations, hundreds of bank account numbers, fictitious identifications, stolen identifications, check manufacturing equipment, identity profiles, and counterfeit checks were seized.
Based on evidence recovered from the suspects' residence, detectives determined Lind and Combe stole bank account information from Valencia Self Storage, located in the 27800 block of Smyth Drive, Valencia. The suspects admitted to "dumpster diving" at the storage facility and stealing hundreds of partially-shredded checks they found in the trash bins. The suspects reassembled the checks, and obtained the routing and bank account numbers. They used the information to produce more than 30 counterfeit checks, which they negotiated throughout the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys in Los Angeles county, and the Simi Valley- area in Ventura County . Lind and Comb also had many other checks which were ready to be cashed.
Valencia Self Storage personnel notified their customers regarding the theft of information.
On April 18, 2012, a criminal complaint was filed against Lind and Combe, alleging 45 felony counts which include Identity Theft, Forgery of A Check, Commercial Burglary, Grand Theft, False Impersonation, Receiving Stolen Property, and Unauthorized Use of Credit Card.
Lind is currently incarcerated within the Ventura County Jail system for similar charges, in lieu of $850,000 bail.
Tammy Combe, who was arrested in Acton and is currently incarcerated within the Los Angeles County Jail system in lieu of $50,000 bail, is awaiting arraignment on Tuesday, May 2, 2012.
"Remember to fully shred your personal information," said Captain Paul Becker of the Los Angeles County Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "It needs to be both vertically and horizontally shredded into tiny pieces."
For questions or information, please contact Commercial Crimes Bureau Detective David Lingscheit at 661-287-4098.
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