Local Man Charged with 19 Felonies in Widespread Check Forgery Case
An LCO man, Justin Gordon, 12874 Haskins Road, made his initial appearance in Sawyer County Circuit Court on 19 felony charges stemming from a widespread check fraud and forgery case involving dozens of community members.
Gordon’s cash bond was set at $10,000 and his arraignment on the charges was set for Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
The charges include three counts of unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information or documents, three counts of forgery, three counts of forgery as a party to a crime, three counts of uttering a forgery and three counts of uttering a forgery as a party to a crime, and four counts of issuance of a worthless check.
Gordon faces a $10,000 fine on each of the 19 counts and six years imprisonment on all the counts except the four worthless check counts. On those he faces three years and six months on each count.
Gordon also has three misdemeanor counts of issuing worthless checks pending in Burnett County filed August 22 of this year. His initial court appearance on this case is set for December 13 at 1 pm in the Burnett County Government Center.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Sawyer County, the investigation initially began in the city of Hayward when officers were dispatched to Marketplace Foods for a check forgery complaint. The manager of the grocery store told officers they had 6 checks that were fraudulently cashed. The manager provided video and pictures of the identifications that were used to cash the checks.
The checks were cashed on the account of 43 Apple Hill LLC and all dated for October 6. The checks were made out to Justin Gordon in the amount of $887; Louis Gordon in the amount of $904.60; Kathryn Isham in the amount of $980.33; Denelle Sharlow in the amount of $980; Kelly B. Martin in the amount of $400 and Travis Burch in the amount of $486.
The Marketplace manager informed officers that the bank which the checks were drawn on said 43 Apple Hill was disputing the checks. He said the bank told him the company had put a stop on their account, according to the complaint.
The complaint further stated, Associated Bank told officers there were many more checks in dispute. They told officers that the person involved in the check fraud had ordered the checks with account information, including the account number, for 43 Apple Hill LLC.
A representative from the management company of the apartment building, 43 Apple Hill, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said she believed the person who obtained their bank account information would have been Aja Isham, 32, who had rented an apartment but was evicted in August of this year, according to the complaint. She said while Aja was living in the apartment she received monthly utility allowance checks from the company, so she would have had their account numbers. The Apple Hill manager also told officers one of the reasons Aja was evicted was because she had many unauthorized tenants staying at her apartment, some of whom were the names on the checks that had been cashed.
Associated Bank provided Hayward PD with information on 13 additional checks that had been cashed under 43 Apple Hill LLC. They included five more checks to Marketplace, three on September 27 by Anthony Stephenson for $800; Carry Enoch for $400; and Louis Gordon for $700, and another on Sept. 28 by Justin Gordon for $790.08 and then again on Sept. 29 by Chalice Wade for $917.60.
Five checks were cashed at the Hayward Walmart, three of which on Sept. 27 by Belinda Guibord for $957.63; Betty Belille for $850; and Robert Thayer for $400, and two more by Chalice Wade on Sept. 29 and 30 in the amounts of $544.08 and $1,044.08.
Two checks were cashed at the Ashland Walmart, one by Casey McKnight for $717.60 and another by Justin Gordon for $987. Another check was cashed by Jonny Ray Smith for $987.48 at the Rice Lake Walmart.
According to the complaint, on October 14, the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office responded to the LCO Casino where security reported that Angelina Blackdeer, 30, had just passed a check in the amount of $3,000 from the LCO Tribe’s general disbursement account. Security informed the responding deputy that they knew it was fraudulent because they contacted one of the signees on the check, Don Carley, who is a member of the tribal governing board. The check had the signature of Carley listed as Secretary/Treasurer and also had the signature of tribal chairman Louis Taylor.
Carley told the deputy that he hasn’t been the secretary treasurer for the tribe in 10 years, and informed him Jason Weaver was the current secretary treasurer, the complaint stated.
The complaint further stated that while the deputy was on his way back to the casino to retrieve two more checks security located, he was informed a fourth individual was at the casino cashier’s cage attempting to cash another fraudulent check in the amount of $3,000. The individual was Joseph Thayer, Sr, 48.
Thayer told the deputy he received the check in the mail. He told the deputy he no longer had the envelope the check came in, that he threw it away.
The other two checks at the casino were made out to Denise Ruth Hamilton for $2,375.32 and Vanessa Marie Hamilton for $1,545.88. All three checks were drawn on the LCO Tribe’s general disbursement account.
On Monday, October 16, LCO Police received a statement from an employee of the casino who said they were informed that Justin Gordon was creating the checks. The LCO Officer contacted Sawyer County with this new information. According to the complaint, he also informed the deputy that Denise Hamilton had just cashed another check at the LCO Federal Credit Union.
On Tuesday, October 17, all three law enforcement agencies, LCO, Hayward and Sawyer County put their information together.
According to the complaint, the representative of 43 Apple Hill told the Hayward officer the ordered checks were through Intuit, and delivered to Justin Gordon’s Haskins Road address. With that information and the report from the casino about Gordon creating the checks, a search warrant was issued on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 17, for that address.
According to the complaint, three individuals were taken into custody at the residence, which included Justin Gordon, his parents Louis Gordon and Kathy Isham.
Evidence found within the residence included blank check stocks and checks that had already been written out but not delivered, the complaint stated. Checks were found from Bugo Ganay Gizhig Inc, JLG Investments LLC, Goodwin’s Consulting Services, Native American Financial Services LLC, and the LCO Tribal Governing Board that were identical to the checks seized at the casino.
The complaint further stated the deputy found paper copies of Wisconsin Driver’s licenses that had Gordon’s picture on them with different names. The deputy saw Gordon’s picture on licenses that had the names Jordan Hugh Grant and Daniel John Goodwin. The Goodwin name was the name used for the delivery of the ordered checks to the Haskins Road address.
Another altered license had a picture of Woody Bird, who the deputy recognized, but had the name Steven Cole Keefer.
The deputy noted in the complaint that other items related to forgery and meth use were found.
Through the investigations, the complaint states, officers from all three departments have identified numerous other subjects that had received, cashed, attempted to cash, or had checks made out to them that had not yet been cashed. They included those previously mentioned as well as, Selina Isham, James Raymond Fairbanks, Cassandra Reed, Heather Grover, Belinda Dennis, Robert Corbine, Corby Gordon, Mary Ellen Corbine, Tonya Victor, Danette Sharlow and Aja Isham.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.