LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A man allegedly part of a group trying to pass fake checks in the Midwest was caught in Lafayette. Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday.
On Feb. 26, police were called to the Regions Bank on South Creasy Lane after a teller said they caught a man trying to pass a fraudulent check. The teller showed the officer a $5,990 check from the Cypress Family Medical Center in Florida, an Ohio driver's licence and credit card, all made out to Ricardo Plumas.
Police spoke with the man who said he was Plumas. Court documents said he later admitted the items were fake and identified himself as Jose Antonio Asia, 50 of Tampa Bay, Florida.
A few miles away, another teller at the Regions Bank on Union Street reported the same man cashed a check there. Prosecutors said the $4,980 check from the Cypress Family Medical Center passed. Staff at a third Regions Bank, located on South Street, told police fraudulent checks written from the same account were presented by other people at different branches.
Asia told police he was given the false ID and checks by someone who "had a way for Asia to make money." Asia claimed he left Florida and had been traveling with a group, cashing the checks at several banks in Indiana and Kentucky. Asia said the people would drop him off near the banks and he would try to cash the checks, according to court documents. He said he was paid by the people if he was successful and only knew them based off their nicknames.
Asia admitted to going to three Regions banks in Lafayette on Feb. 26. Court documents said he was unsuccessful at the first, successful at the second and caught by police at the third.
The owners of Cypress Family Medical Center in Florida were called by police and said none of the checks were authorized. They also said the phone number on the checks was wrong.
Prosecutors said Asia was also wanted on a warrant for burglary in Illinois. He was also arrested in California in 2019 for burglary and fraudulent check offenses, according to court documents.
Asia is facing eight charges including conspiracy to commit fraud on a financial institution, fraud on a financial institution, two counts of forgery, theft, attempted theft, counterfeiting, and false government identification.
As of Friday morning, he was listed in the Tippecanoe County Jail.