Check fraud against City resolved

Published 4:55 pm Friday, December 13, 2013

Darrell Withers Jr.

Darrell Withers Jr.

The man accused of cashing a fraudulent check against the City of Washington’s bank account pleaded guilty to the crime in Beaufort County Superior Court this week.

Darrell Lamont Withers Jr., of Mecklenburg County, was given a suspended sentence of 6 to 17 months in prison, 18 months probation and community service for attempting to deposit a check for $4,692.50 into his Woodforest National Bank account. The fraudulent check shared the same number with one legitimately written out by the city to Tractor Supply Company in Washington.

The incident occurred on Sept. 13, 2012, but was quickly discovered, so quickly that Withers had not been able to access the money, as Woodforest Bank had put a hold on the check.

“The money was still there — I didn’t touch it,” Withers told Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. “They made me wait seven days.”

“I was under the impression the bank had gotten the money back,” said defense attorney Laura Gibson. “They withdrew the money from his bank account.”

Bank video showed Withers depositing the check in his account, according to the prosecution.

As to how Withers ended up with a duplicate check: “It was a counterfeit check. It was not our check but somehow it ended up with our number on it. It was a homemade check,” said Lt. William Chrismon, spokesman for the Washington Police Department.

Chrismon said the check drew the bank’s notice because it did not have the requisite security features and began an investigation.

“The bank worked with the city and discovered it was a counterfeit check before they released the funds,” Chrismon said.