Counterfeiting defendants to face federal charges

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Suspects arrested in Tell City also charged with bank fraud

By Trista Lutgring

Feature Writer

TELL CITY – United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced Thursday that formal federal charges have been filed against three defendants who were arrested by Tell City law-enforcement officers after a high-speed chase last month. Jemario B. Baldwin, 26, and Morris H. Miller, 25, both of Charlotte, N.C., and Charles Thomas Miller, 32, of Knoxville, Tenn., have been charged with conspiring with each other to make and possess a counterfeited or forged check. This follows a collaborative investigation by the Tell City Police Department and the United States Secret Service.

“This case is a wonderful example of federal-local law enforcement collaboration at work,” Hogsett said May 2 during a visit to the News office. “Together with the Tell City Police Department and the Perry County prosecutor’s office, we are dedicated to reaching across jurisdictional lines to make this a safer community.”

Federal charging documents allege that March 27, Charles Miller went into the German American Bank at 208 East Highway 66 in Tell City. Miller requested the teller cash a check and provided the teller his Tennessee identification card and an allegedly counterfeit Snedegar Construction check made out for $1,871.33.

At that point, bank officials allegedly examined the check and determined it was counterfeit. While the examination was taking place, Miller left the bank branch and fled in a vehicle. Bank employees reported the incident to the Tell City Police Department and provided a description of the vehicle Miller used to leave the bank.

As the News reported April 1, officers were dispatched and spotted a vehicle matching the description at the intersection of 12th and Washington streets. Once officers were in position, attempts were made to stop the vehicle. However, after pulling over for a short time, the suspect sped away. Officers pursued the vehicle north on 12th Street, during which, according to officers, the suspects threw evidence out of the vehicle.

The pursuit weaved through northern portions of Tell City before coming to an end on Main Street at the intersection with Mozart Street, where officers detained the three suspects.

“The lion’s share of the credit goes to the Tell City Police Department,” Hogsett said, adding the decision to prosecute the defendants federally was a “decision made collaboratively” by local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office.

“We need to send a message to these criminals that federal and local law enforcement will work together to hold them accountable for their actions,” he said.

During a subsequent investigation, law-enforcement officers allegedly discovered that a number of counterfeit checks had been thrown out of or destroyed inside of the car.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who according to a press release from the Department of Justice is prosecuting the case for the government, all three defendants face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge and a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.