99 charged in Shelby County in check cashing ring

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Authorities say 99 people have been charged with cashing more than $41,000 in checks using an illegally obtained state of Tennessee account number.

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said Tuesday that leaders of the scheme recruited others to cash checks for about $300 at Wal-Marts in Shelby County. Gibbons said the ringleaders kept a portion of the money and gave the rest to the check cashers.

Officials said the checks had an account number belonging to the state. Gibbons said the state Department of Treasury informed law enforcement about the existence of the forged checks, sparking an investigation.

Shelby County sheriff’s officials said about 50 people had been arrested on forgery and identity theft charges as of Tuesday afternoon.