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Three Charged with Passing Counterfeit Checks at Target

The trio faces federal charges after they purchased over $12,000 of merchandise with fake checks from retail stores in Burnsville and 10 others cities in Minnesota.

Three people have been collectively charged with over 30 counts of banks fraud after an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and Minneapolis Police Department uncovered a series of transactions using counterfeit checks.

Last week, Ci'Preaunni Ja'Von Stewart, 21, and Ryan Lamarr Chambers, unknown age, were indicted with 19 counts of bank fraud. A second indictment charges Jamee Leah Spillman, 38, with 15 counts of bank fraud. The charges were filed last Thursday in federal court.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Chambers, Stewart and Spillman devised the scheme over a period of months, from July through October 2011. The three passed the counterfeits at retail stores, primarily Target, claiming that the fakes were traveler's checks. Over that period, the group fraudulently obtained merchandise and gift cards from stores in Burnsville and other locations around the Twin Cities region. The purchases amounted to more than $12,375.

If convicted, the three could face a maximum of 30 years in prison for each count.

The investigation was sponsored in part by the Interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established in 2009 by President Barack Obama to wage "an aggressive, coordinated proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes" and combat mortgage, securities and corporate fraud.

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