Two men accused of running a fake check ring that burned local businesses more than 100 times, pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Anaheim resident Dave Arthur Labrousse, 45, and Santa Ana resident Earl Leroy Gorman, 39, were both charged with six counts of second-degree burglary and six counts of making or possessing fictitious (financial) instruments. In addition, Gorman was charged with possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property and two counts of creating access cards under different names.
The incidents allegedly occurred between Nov. 30 and Jan. 24, according to court records. All charges are considered felony violations.
Gorman faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years and eight months in prison if convicted, and Labrouse faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months if convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Both were arraigned Jan. 28.
Gorman and Labrouse allegedly created fake business bank accounts – using the names of real businesses – to print and pass checks allowing them to take in cash and services worth thousands in Los Alamitos and Buena Park, according to the Los Alamitos Police Department.
The duo allegedly duped businesses like Home Depot, Ganahl Lumber and Office Depot in almost 100 separate transactions over the past several months. According to Los Al Police Sgt. Bruce McAlpine, the duo hit Ganahl lumber in Los Alamitos at least three times.
The men, who were arrested near their homes early Thursday morning, allegedly used the counterfeit checks to buy major appliances and construction materials, usually in the home remodeling industry. Officials suspect the duo then pawned or sold the stolen items for cash.
During a warrant search of the men’s homes, detectives seized about 15 grams of methamphetamine, evidence of discarded paperwork used to allegedly steal personal identities, and computer equipment used to create the fraudulent checks, according to the Los Alamitos Police Department.
Additionally, stolen property from Home Depot, worth about $3,500, was recovered and returned to representatives from the business.