, Newburyport, MA

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May 6, 2014

Man held after passing fake checks at local bank

Suspect was part of criminal ring that stole $27,000 from Provident Bank


The same day, another Provident Bank official called Lt. William Scholtz to report that a man was attempting to cash another Hampton Ford Hyundai check. Scholtz asked bank employees to keep the suspect there until police arrived.

Scholtz wrote that he watched the suspect, wearing a brown suit, at a teller window.

A bank official then handed Scholtz a copy of the suspect’s driver’s license and a check made payable to him in the amount of $1,980.

Scholtz then approached the subject, identified him as a police officer and began questioning him. The suspect, Eric S. Lopriore, 23, of Oxford, told police he was paid $125 to cash the check for someone who didn’t have identification.

“He indicated he did not know the people he was cashing the check for, stating he just met them in Worcester yesterday,” Scholtz wrote in his report.

Lopriore then told Scholtz he would be picked up outside the bank by the man who hired him. Police waited, but a vehicle never showed.

Lopriore was placed under arrest and charged with attempted larceny by check, uttering a false check and possession of a class B substance.

During the booking process, Lopriore told police that he was given the check by three men named Tate, John and Eric, who had picked him up in Worcester and driven him to Amesbury.

Using video surveillance from the bank, police were able to identify Morales along with four other men, John J. Devries, Pedro Velazquez, Antonio Ramos Jr. and John Taylor, all of Worcester, as those cashing fraudulent checks. All but Devries have been arrested and charged, according to Amesbury police.

Checking with Hampton Ford Hyundai, an executive there told Scholtz he didn’t recognize any of the men. Furthermore, he told Scholtz that the checks were not stolen, but made to appear as if they were from the car dealership, according to Scholtz’s report.

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