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Three Floresville residents face check forgery charges
A Floresville couple are being held in the Lavaca County Jail after officials there say they tried to pass a forged check Jan. 18 in Yoakum. The pair are suspected of committing similar crimes in Wilson and Bexar counties.
According to Investigator Stephen Moore of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, 42-year-old Paula Beckingham was covered in broken glass when she walked into the Sweet Home Kitchen & Store on U.S. 77A in Yoakum. Beckingham said she had been involved in an accident and she was attempting to cash a check. The store employee became suspicious and called the Lavaca County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies arrived and spoke with Beckingham and her boyfriend, 44-year-old Raymond Clinton Hammer, who was standing outside the store next to a 2012 Chevrolet sport-utility vehicle. Moore said deputies traced the vehicle’s plates back to a Mazda. They also determined that the pair had outstanding arrest warrants, so Hammer and Beckingham were arrested and transported to jail.
According to Lavaca County Jail records, the pair remained in custody at press time Feb. 3. Hammer is charged with possession of less than 1 gram of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1. He also has outstanding arrest warrants from Hays County charging him with deadly conduct and driving with an invalid license. Hammer’s total bond is $37,000.
Beckingham is charged with forgery of a financial instrument and failure to identify a fugitive with intent to give false information. Her arrest warrants from Wilson County charge her with engaging in organized criminal activity and forgery of a financial instrument against the elderly. Warrants issued out of Bexar County charge Beckingham with possession of less than 1 gram of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 and with theft of $20 to $500 by check. Her total bond is $178,300.
Moore said Hammer and Beckingham are suspected of being responsible for stealing credit-card convenience checks from elderly residents in Bexar and Wilson counties. (See “Check fraud ring targets elderly,” Sept. 25, 2013.)
In an unrelated incident, 49-year-old Ginger Sue Cole of Floresville was arrested Jan. 31 and charged with two counts of forgery of a financial instrument. According to Floresville Patrolman Eric Hutchinson, he and Detective Jesse Gutierrez responded to the H-E-B supermarket on U.S. 181 in Floresville after Cole allegedly tried to cash two checks totaling just less than $2,500. The checks were purported to be from Reading, Penn.-based F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc.
Hutchinson indicated that upon contacting the company, officials there informed him that someone had set up a fraudulent account in their name and had been using Federal Express to pass bogus checks.
Cole was transported to the Wilson County Jail, where records indicate she was released after posting $16,000 bond.
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