Thursday, September 22, 2005


Pastor Arrested For Cashing Thousands In Fake Checks

CLERMONT, Fla. -- The pastor of a Clermont church was arrested for cashing tens of thousands of dollars in fake checks. Police had been investigating Charles Hill for a year.

The pastor told police he wasn't doing anything wrong. Instead, he was cashing checks for work that he had done online. But after thousand of dollars in fake checks, Hill was arrested.

Hill was a part time pastor at St. Mark Ame Church, however detectives said his other job was cashing in on fraudulent checks.

"I would say he was really good, but he did a few things that made him get caught," said Sgt. Michael Blackmon, Clermont Police Department.

Clermont police spent more than a year investigating the minister. They said he used fake checks to buy appliances, open bank accounts and even buy a car. Detectives said, in one instance, Hill deposited an $80,000 check at Bank of America and opened an account. Then, before anyone suspected the checks were fake, he bought a car at Chrysler.

Detectives said Hill did the same thing at Rent Way. He walked in with a fake cashier check and bought merchandise and then pocketed the extra money. Investigators said it was hard to catch Hill because the checks looked real.

"Until they are run in the system, they never know. Once they are discovered they are counterfeit, then the suspect's gone," Blackmon said.

Neighbors even claimed Hill was a con artist. He apparently lived in a house rent-free.

Hill was evicted after writing fake checks. He was being held on $30,000 bond. A church member said he was surprised by the allegations and said Hill is a good man.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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