3 Accused of Leading Fake Check Ring

Article excerpt

The State Attorney's Office announced Thursday that police have apprehended 13 out of 29 suspects in a local counterfeit check ring, amounting to at least $395,000 in losses.

At least 900 counterfeit checks were cashed, dating back to 2005, said Assistant State Attorney Kevin Frein.

Three suspects, Fred Holliman, 34, Billy D. Williams, 29, and Lakeisha Williams, 29, are facing racketeering and check fraud charges as the "organizers" of the operation, Frein said.

Holliman was arrested in Jacksonville on Sept. 19 for possession of counterfeit checks and possession of cocaine. After obtaining a search warrant for his home, investigators found a check counterfeiting program on Holliman's laptop computer and contact information for criminal associates, Frein said.

The three organizers recruited people to cash counterfeit checks, ranging from $300 to $500, at Jacksonville grocery stores, Frein said.

Using the information from Holliman's computer, police arrested Lakeisha Williams on Wednesday at her home, Frein said. Police tried to capture Billy D. Williams, but he fled his home Wednesday in the 5000 block of Cleveland Road when police tried to arrest him. He remains a fugitive, Frein said.

Frein said the check counterfeiting ring was able to go on for so long because it was hard to trace isolated cases to the main organizers.

"The forensic evidence we have now helps us build a prosecutable case," Frein said.

Frein said the three organizers can be prosecuted under the Racketeering Influence and Corruption Act, a 1970 federal law aimed at organized crime. If convicted, Lakeisha Williams and Billy D. Williams face up to 30 years in prison. Holliman faces up to 60 years because he is a habitual offender, Frein said.

Frein said it's rare to have a pure RICO Act case in Florida that's not related to drug crimes.

Adam Aasen

MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER

A Jacksonville man who police said killed his wife in a struggle is behind bars on a murder charge.

Police said the 44-year-old man got in a domestic dispute Wednesday night with his wife, Linda Way, at her home in the 9600 block of Flechette Avenue. Curtis Way, who is 6 feet tall and 210 pounds, held his wife down until she lost consciousness, police said. Then he went to a neighboring home to call 911. …