Six people charged with fraud given conditional discharge

Six members of a check fraud ring that targeted HR Business Solutions received probation for the scheme that defrauded the company of almost $20,000.

Carlos Valdez, 38; Arnell Armbrister, 24; Kendrea Smith, 27; Anavia Thompson, 22; Giselle Capernarus, 30; and Chiquia Rolle, 26, all pleaded guilty yesterday to cashing forged checks made out to them as part of the scheme.

They carried out the check fraud scheme between August 18, 2018 and September 18, 2019. The business’ owner, Sonja Toote, went to the Financial Crimes Unit after she found the suspicious transactions, totaling $19,600, while reviewing her check log, Sergeant Lincoln McKenzie told the court.

He said police are still looking for the two ringleaders.

Despite their guilty pleas, Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes allowed them to maintain a clean record by giving them a conditional discharge.

They each have until August 30 to repay the respective sums stolen and must remain on good behavior during the period of probation. Failure to comply with either condition will result in a sentence of six months in prison.

Armbrister has to repay $5,700; Rolle $3,200; Thompson $2,500; Valdez $2,500; Capernarus $2,500 and Smith $3,200.

They will be eligible for an absolute discharge on June 17, 2021, if they have met the conditions imposed by the court.

Before passing sentence, Forbes said that the offenses were considerable and carried a possible penalty of five years in prison.

Forbes said, “Decisions, whether thought through or not, have consequences.”

Noting that the offenses occurred almost two years ago, Forbes said, “Time is longer than rope; you are eventually going to get caught.”

Thompson admitted a charge of disorderly behavior connected to her court appearance.

She pulled away from escorting officers while doing the perp walk from the holding cells at the Nassau Street Police Station to the court complex.

Thompson’s lawyer Roberto Reckley said that she needed to use the bathroom.

As a result, Forbes dismissed the case.


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