New Information: Walnut Ridge Check Scam

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- We have new information about a story we first told you about Monday night on Nightbeat.  We brought you the story of a Lawrence County woman arrested this weekend for passing fraudulent checks, on Tuesday the Walnut Ridge Police Department tells us why Tricia Cooper was arrested.

"We received a call from Wal-Mart about someone passing some counterfeit checks," said Corporal David Burnside of the Walnut Ridge Police Department.

Detective Burnside has copies of the fraudulent checks Cooper used at Wal-Mart.

"The checks had come back that they were not on an account.  That they were fraudulent checks," said Burnside.

Tricia Cooper was arrested on Sunday while at Wal-Mart.

"The officer talked to her and told her basically if she wanted to make restitution for all this that there would be no charges filed.  I believe it was around $1,800 that the checks were for," said Burnside.

Burnside said the two money order checks used are for $925 a piece.

"She said she could not cover the restitution and at that point and time, just to cover Wal-Mart's loss.  She was placed under arrest," said Burnside.

Copper told K8 News Monday that this all started last month.

"About two weeks ago I got an email from somebody saying that they wanted to send me a check that I could deposit in my checking account.  I send them $2,500 and I keep ten percent," said Tricia Cooper.

"People are sending this out saying, 'I'll send you a check for  so much money if you'll cash the check and send me back so much money, then you can have the rest'.  Nothing comes for free," said Burnside.

Burnside said the suspect is facing the charge of fraudulent use of a credit card or debit card.

"Basically a credit card or a credit card account or a checking account number falls under the same categories," said Burnside.

Any of us could get something like this in the mail, but Burnside said most of these fraudulent checks and money orders are coming from overseas and are often untraceable; that's why when you use it you are committing a crime.

"When they cash the check at their bank, if the check comes back or whatever, they're responsible for that money," said Burnside.

Detective Burnside said if you aren't expecting to get a check in the mail, especially one this large, be very cautious.  He adds, he doesn't think Tricia Cooper actually meant to commit fraud in this case.

"I think she probably thought that this was probably going to get her some money in the long run like a lot of people," said Burnside.

Cooper's next court date is October, 31 in Lawrence County.