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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Ocala man jailed after cashing several fraudulent checks

A 49-year-old Ocala man was arrested after he cashed several fraudulent checks at a local credit union.

On Friday, June 3, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a residence on E Highway 318 in Citra in reference to an incident of grand theft. Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with a female victim who stated that her checkbook may have been stolen from her mailbox.

According to the victim, the new checkbook had been delivered to her home, but she never received it. When she looked through her bank statement, she noticed several unfamiliar checks that were cashed from her bank account.

The MCSO report indicated that the first check, in the amount of $365.50, was cashed at the CAMPUS USA Credit Union located at 3097 SW College Road on Wednesday, June 1. Later that same day, a second check, in the amount of $367.50, was cashed at another CAMPUS USA Credit Union branch located at 2444 E Silver Springs Boulevard.

The deputy contacted both credit union locations and confirmed that the checks were cashed by Ray Fritz Dearth. He had provided a Georgia identification card when he cashed both checks.

Ray Fritz Dearth
Ray Fritz Dearth

On Thursday, June 9, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office detective received copies of the fraudulent checks and the victim’s bank statements. On the back of both checks, Dearth’s date of birth and his Georgia identification number were written.

The detective responded to both branches of the credit union where the checks were cashed and reviewed video surveillance footage. At both locations, Dearth was observed wearing a black shirt and gray hat, and a teardrop tattoo was visible under his left eye. He was shown on the footage cashing both of the victim’s checks.

Dearth was located on Monday, June 13 in the 3300 block of NE 16th Court. He was arrested and transported to the MCSO north multi-district office for an interview. He claimed that a friend had given him the checks with the instructions to cash them. He admitted that he had suspicions that the checks were stolen, and he had decided to cash them anyway so he could receive $150 in return.

Dearth was transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $6,000 bond. He is facing two felony charges for fraud along with two misdemeanor charges for first degree petit theft (over $100 but less than $750).

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.