Police: Rock Hill woman used bad checks to steal from ‘friends’

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJune 13, 2013 

— A Rock Hill woman befriended several people before depositing fraudulent checks into their bank accounts and stealing their money, police say.

Vanessa Matthews, 23, of 427 Railroad Ave., is charged with seven counts of federal chartered financial institution crime, three counts of forgery and three counts of criminal conspiracy. She was being held Thursday at the York County Detention Center in York on a $130,000 bond.

Matthews was arrested Wednesday after detectives pieced together complaints from at least eight people about missing cash.

Matthews developed friendships with eight or nine people before asking to use their ATM cards to deposit checks into their accounts, and then instantly withdraw the money, Rock Hill Police Executive Officer Mark Bollinger said.

The people agreed, Bollinger said, and gave Matthews their bank cards and personal identification numbers. Matthews placed fraudulent checks into their accounts, Bollinger said, then withdrew the maximum amount of money the ATM would allow her to take.

Matthews also is accused of using one woman’s credit card number to order $25 worth of food from Pizza Hut on North Cherry Road, the warrant states.

Detectives began receiving complaints about Matthews and realized they were investigating the same suspect, Bollinger said.

Police are still trying to determine if others might be involved, but, according to arrest warrants, they received a statement from her co-defendant about the crimes.

That co-defendant, also a Rock Hill woman, had not been arrested by Thursday evening, but is accused of scheming with Matthews to deposit checks from closed accounts into newly opened accounts and then taking out the funds.

Between May 16 and May 21, the women opened fraudulent accounts at Family Trust and BB&T, police said. They’re accused of stealing at least $4,000, although the final total hasn’t been tallied, Bollinger said.

In 2009, Matthews received credit for time served after she was charged with six counts of forgery and filing a false police report. A few months later, she was sent to a state women’s correctional facility in 2009 after she was convicted of criminal conspiracy, grand larceny and second-degree violent burglary.

Last year, her youthful offender status was revoked after she was sentenced to six months in prison for another forgery charge.

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