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Arrests in check, ATM fraud

Aaron W. TaylorTwo brothers were arrested earlier this month and a third alleged accomplice now in jail in Jacksonville will be charged in a check writing scam in late July that resulted in at least $800 in fraudulent withdrawals from an ATM on a Vystar debit card.

Aaron Taylor, 22, of Glen St. Mary is charged with defrauding a financial institution and issuing a counterfeit check. Ryan Taylor, 19, of Macclenny is charged with defrauding a financial institution, forgery of a public record, issuing counterfeit checks and issuing checks on accounts with insufficient funds.

A warrant for similar charges was issued in early August for Hailey Dan, 20, of Macclenny, who sheriff’s investigator Mike Hauge says is in Duval County jail charged with a theft from her grandmother in Jacksonville.

Police say Ryan Taylor deposited a bogus $900 check into the Vystar account of ex-girlfriend Amber Goldsmith of Macclenny on July 29 after borrowing her bank card on the false premise that his was not operable.

The check was written on an account that Mr. Taylor opened at TD Bank the previous day, and he then allegedly withdrew the maximum daily $500 from an ATM using the Vystar card.

Investigator Hauge then confirmed that Mr. Taylor and Lauren Smith, 19, of Macclenny both opened TD accounts that day but deposited only $10 in them.

Further investigation revealed that Mr. Taylor used the same card three times to obtain cash advances of $100 each at Walmart on July 29. He later admitted he spent the cash on clothing and a tattoo.

 

Ryan W. TaylorBrandon J. TaylorMs. Smith was identified as the girlfriend of Aaron Taylor, whose closed account at Wells Fargo Bank was used to issue checks for $400, $500 and $800 to Ryan Taylor. They were worthless and deposited into his Vystar account.

The bogus checks for $900 written by Ryan Taylor and Ms. Smith for deposit into their TD accounts were also frozen and they were unable to withdraw cash. Mr. Taylor also implicated Ms. Dan in the scheme, and said she participated in making out one of the $900 checks and “completely walked (Aaron) Taylor through the process … as she had done with him (Ryan).”

Investigator Hauge said further charges are possible as police unravel the trail of bad checks and bank records including surveillance videos at the ATM machines.

In an unrelated fraud case reported to police the past week, a Macclenny woman reported she was being badgered by collection departments of several utilities and companies, apparently the result of bogus accounts opened using her personal information.

One of them involved a $362 outstanding bill to Florida Power and Light owed on an account opened in her name. Others involve Verizon, Comcast and ATT.

She reported the situation on August 15.

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