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Second ringleader sentenced in bogus check scheme

The second of three ringleaders in a check-fraud scheme that bilked local businesses out of more than $30,000 was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.

Melodie Dawn Pinner, 36, pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge and seven counts of aggravated identity theft as part of a 14-member ring that stole bank numbers through a Klamath Falls car dealership to print bogus checks cashed at local businesses during a three-month binge that ended in October, authorities said.

Pinner admitted in Jackson County Circuit Court that she created the fake checks with information provided to her from co-defendants in the case, Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Alyssa Claseman said.

Investigators seized check-making materials, computers and printers from her home in January, court records show.

Co-defendant Craig Sterling Knight, 35, was sentenced in March to four years in prison, admitting in court that his role in the scam was providing the bank numbers Pinner used to create those checks, court records show.

The third alleged ringleader, 28-year-old Jeffrey Adam Todd, also faces racketeering charges and has a June 12 trial set.

Pinner was set to go to trial Tuesday.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack ordered $31,186.24 restitution for all the cases spelled out in a 63-count indictment, and in her plea Pinner took responsibility for her role in each bogus check that was cashed and that they attempted to cash, Claseman said.

She will share that financial responsibility with Todd and any other co-defendants convicted in the case and ordered to pay restitution by the court, Claseman said.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtfribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Melodie Dawn Pinner