City treasurer catches $2,700 in fraudulent checks passing through checking account


Belle City Treasurer Michelle Jones identified five fraudulent checks totaling $2,717.85 passing through the city’s Legends Bank account, and told aldermen July 8 that she thought it was related to the May 20 break-in at the administration building 

“We had someone — I believe it is related — it has got to be related to our break-in — somebody wrote checks off of our account totaling about $2,718 that I caught and I signed an affidavit and everything and the bank reimbursed us.”

The checks are dated June 6. The bank reimbursed the city July 5. Jones said she doesn’t know if the city wants to close the account and open another one, because they have manufactured their own checks. Alderman Tony Gieck asked if they had it signed.

“It actually looks like a payroll type check to a Keinesha Cox and it is signed by William Ellery,” Jones said.

“Who signed the Declaration of Independence,” said Frankie Hicks, city clerk.

“And died in 1860 something,” Mayor Josh Seaver added.

Two of the checks were made out for $545.35 and $545.10 respectively.

“As soon as I caught it, I reported it to the bank,” Jones said. “I have checked every day since then and we have not had any more activity like this on our account.”

Gieck asked what they could do about it, and if the checks were cashed.

“They did cash the checks, and it had a very strange check number,” Jones said.

Gieck asked what law enforcement was doing about catching the perpetrator.

“Well that is how we know the signer signed the Declaration of Independence,” Jones said. “I filed a police report with Bubba (Brian Brennan).”

Hicks said Brennan told her the Belle Police Department turned the case over to Maries County.

“What she is asking is if she should close that account,” Seaver said.

Jones said the checks are taking money out of the city’s actual general fund account which requires two signatures — but the checks only had the one signature of William Ellery.

Gieck made a motion to close that account and open a new. The board approved the motion with a 3-0 vote.

Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said that his department has taken over the case.

“We have applied for several investigative subpoenas (for records) and are following down the leads on that,” Heitman said Tuesday.


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