GRESHAM, Ore. – The Portland man accused of organizing a large check fraud scheme and stealing $140,000 from the Oregon Department of Human Services was convicted of forgery in Washington state less than a year ago, Gresham police said.
Andrew Jarod Prevost, 37, faces charges including aggravated identity theft and forgery.
Detective John Rasmussen said Prevost somehow got a DHS bank account number and used it to make nearly 100 counterfeit payroll checks. He put different company logos, including Home Depot, Columbia and Fed Ex, on the checks and directed 65 people to cash them at different locations.
Police don’t know how he got the account number.
Prevost’s girlfriend, Jennifer Patrick, was one of four lieutenants who recruited people to cash the bogus checks, Rasmussen said.
“If the person cashing the check had been introduced to Mr. Prevost by somebody else, that person would receive $300 off the top of the proceeds and the remaining amount would be split fifty-fifty,” said Rasmussen.
Fraud investigators with DHS noticed unusual activity on a DHS account and reported it to police.
DHS spokesman Gene Evans said the suspects didn’t get any taxpayer money.
“DHS did not pay any of the checks. They were identified and caught immediately and reported to police,” Evans said in an email. “No state funds were accessed, and no dollars ever left any DHS account.”
Most of the checks were cashed at Walmart stores in Portland and Vancouver, Wash.
Court records show Prevost (right) was found guilty of forgery in Washington state ten months ago. He also faces fraud charges in Mississippi, police said.
Prevost told investigators in Washington that the scheme got so big that he lost control and he was in over his head.
Rasmussen said many suspects in the case still don’t know they’re under investigation.
“Everyone involved here faces some sort of fraud and identity theft charges,” he said.