Police arrest couple involved in check fraud


el-centro-police-department logoDetectives from the El Centro Police Department arrested one individual involved with mail theft and check fraud Thursday afternoon.

On January 28, at 5:23 p.m., detectives served a search warrant in the 400 block of Wake Avenue and arrested Cindy Lara (30 years). During the search detectives seized more than 100 stolen checks from local businesses and citizens, over 1,000 pieces of stolen mail, numerous pink slips to vehicles, and vehicle registrations. Detectives also located a computer, a printer, and a large stock of blank checks.

A second subject, Karina Michelle Romero (28 years), is wanted for questioning. Based on the large amount of evidence recovered it appears this ring had been operating for several months.

It is suspected Lara and Romero recruited “runners” to cash the checks. They are believed to have then altered the checks to list the runners as the lawful payees. Lara and Romero would then have the runners go to several check cashing facilities in the Imperial County to cash the forged checks. The runners were then paid a portion of the cash proceeds.

The police would urge people not to put checks or important information in their mailboxes, but instead take them to a secure facility or post office.