SANGER, Calif. (KFSN) --Sanger Unified's books didn't match up in late December. Financial administrators at the Fresno County Office of Education noticed 13 fraudulent checks because of a few easy clues.
First off, the signature stamp said Vicki Crow-- the Fresno County Treasurer who retired two months before the checks were created. They also used the wrong font, and check numbers the school district never issued.
Investigators quickly traced the checks back to four names, including Rosie Hernandez, who we tracked to her last known address.
Former housemates said Hernandez moved out a couple weeks ago and took some of their property with her. A search warrant we uncovered shows she only cashed one Sanger Unified check.
All told, the thieves pulled more than $8,200 from the bank, most of it by Alex Reyes.
Reyes cashed 10 checks, including a couple at a check cashing business where clerks eventually figured out Reyes was not who he said he was.
The real Alex Reyes reported his driver's license stolen more than a year ago. His credit has suffered while the man using his identity opens accounts in his name and keeps himself anonymous.
ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi said tracking down Hernandez could lead to the mastermind.
"I think once law enforcement sits down and interviews these people there's going to be cooperation simply to get the onus off of their back and onto someone who's really responsible."
Capozzi said the suspects seem to know thefts below $950 are misdemeanors, so the check amounts are all below the magic number. But he said the numbers add up to a felony amount, and there seem to be a couple layers of planning here.
The crooks needed to figure out Sanger Unified's bank account information, create fake checks, and write them out to a stolen identity.
"If that's the case, this is really a sophisticated type of crime and it really would be an identity theft. This could be a federal crime," said Capozzi.
Every person who cashed even a single check could be held responsible for the entire amount, leading to a much stronger punishment.