FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - Forsyth County investigators tell Channel 2 Action News an idenfication theft and fradulent check cashing ring used the names of dead people to create bogus driver's licenses to cash illegal checks that they created with computer software.
"Most of these folks are in their late 20s and early 30s. They would find people who had died, who were of that age, and then obtain their information cause they knew it wouldn't get back to someone," said Forsyth Sheriff's Investigator Kristopher Hall.
Hall told Channel 2's Tom Regan that ring members would research genealogy websites and other online resources to find possible deceased victims.
Authorities arrested eight people from Forsyth and Gwinnett counties after a routine traffic stop in Forsyth County in which investigators found laptops, fraudulent blank checks and identification.
It led to the discovery of 19 Maryland driver's licenses, 48 fradulent checks and a stolen Georgia license and Social Security card.
Investigators say ring members cashed as much as $95,000 worth of bogus checks. Ironically, the suspects used fake driver's licenses with mug-shot pictures of themselves from a prior arrest.
"Every ID we found, with the exception of one, was a former mug shot," said Hall.
Authorities say the group, which included two women, committed the crimes to bankroll drug habits.
"None of them had jobs. This was the way they were making their living. We recovered large amounts of meth in the search warrant and traffic stop," said Hall.