Charges have just been filed against a Cedar Hill couple for their involvement in a fraud case after police say they attempted to cash multiple checks at area check cashing businesses in Desloge.

Justin Viner, 31, and Jennifer Waitman, 36, are both being charged with two class C felonies of forgery and two class C felonies of stealing.

According to a probable cause statement, on Oct. 12, 2016, the district manager of Express Cash came to the Desloge Police department to file a report in reference to a fraudulent check that was cashed at the Desloge location.

The report said Viner went into the Desloge Express Cash on Oct. 5, 2016 to cash a check, which he said was his payroll check. It was a Regions Bank check in the amount of $835.47, appearing to be from Orkin Pest Control.

The business cashed the check after the Express Cash employee called the phone number that was typed in the memo section as an “Employment Verification Line.” When the employee called the number, she spoke to a woman who advised the check was good. She identified herself as Jen but was later identified as Waitman.

The officer said when he called the number an automated message played saying thank you for calling ServPro. The address printed on the check was a Farmington address, so the officer called the Orkin home office and discovered there is not an Orkin office in Farmington and Orkin does not bank with Regions Bank.

The Express Cash district manager said after the check was rejected by the company’s bank, she began to investigate Viner and learned that on Aug. 31, 2016, her Crystal City store had cashed a similar check for Viner, which he presented as a payroll check from Hometown Management Group.

The district manager did an online check of Hometown Management Group and found the company did not actually exist. She also found the company website was created on Aug. 25, 2016 by Waitman. She found that Waitman’s address was the same as Viner’s address in Cedar Hill. She also found on Facebook that both Viner and Waitman had been in some sort of romantic relationship.

On Oct. 14, 2016, the officer was contacted by the manager of Lend Nation in reference to a separate incident that involved Viner. The manager said she was dealing with another Orkin check brought to her store by Viner.

The report said Viner went into Lend Nation on Oct. 5, 2016 and presented the $564.30 Orkin Pest Control check as his paycheck. The manager said per store procedure, the employee verified the check by calling the “Employment Verification Number” on the check, which went to an automated voicemail.

The employee did cash the check, which was later returned to the store for non-payment on Oct. 12, 2016. The check was also stamped “Unable to locate account” and the woman said she called Orkin. She spoke with a representative who said they were aware of Viner attempting to cash fraudulent Orkin checks.

The investigation continued and on Dec. 10, 2016 the officer tried to call the number listed on the check again. After calling the number several times and listening to a recording that said “Thank you for calling ServPro,” a woman answered.

The officer said the woman told him who she was and he ran a check on her while on the phone with her. He asked the woman to speak with Waitman and she said she wasn’t there and that she was babysitting for her.

The officer asked why the recording on the phone was for a business and the woman said Waitman works from home doing employment verification for several different companies. The officer told the woman that Waitman was possibly involved in a check fraud scam and the woman said she didn’t know anything about that.

The officer also asked about Viner and the woman said she was once involved with him, but wasn’t sure if she was now. The officer asked for Waitman’s address and the woman refused to provide it numerous times. Finally the woman gave an address with the wrong house number, but correct street name. When the officer asked about it the woman hung up.

Viner is currently being held in the Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center. His bond in this case was set at $60,000. Waitman is wanted on St. Francois County warrant also with a $60,000 bond.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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