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Nixa man convicted for counterfeit check scheme

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A Nixa man was convicted Friday in Springfield federal court for his involvement in a conspiracy to create and cash more than $134,000 in counterfeit checks in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Derrick Haggard, aka Disco, 34, was found guilty on 27 of 27 counts that charged him with leading a conspiracy to commit bank fraud, create and cash counterfeit checks, and steal mail July 1-Oct. 25, 2010, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

The group was able to successfully cash $61,335 and attempted to pass another $73,111, the release said.

Under federal statutes, Haggard is subject to a mandatory two-year prison sentence, and could face a maximum of 30 years in prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will follow the presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

Co-defendants Lisa Strait-Destefano, 39, of Nixa; Dietrich Haggard, aka D-Ball, 31, of Springfield; Drew Michael Basten, 23, of Springfield; Paul Douglas Jr., 44, of Ft. Leonard Wood; Christopher Quale, 26, of St. Robert; Lawrence Eidson, 50, of Buffalo; and Zachary Skinner, 24, address unknown, have pleaded guilty. The defendants were charged July 21 in a 59-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

Derrick Haggard and Strait-Destefano admitted to leading the conspiracy to create counterfeit checks using materials stolen from private mailboxes in the three-state area. Dietrich Haggard and Eidson were recruited to steal the mail, according to the release.

The mail was given to Derrick Haggard and Strait-Destefano - who had previously worked in banking - to create the counterfeit checks. Haggard recruited Douglas, Quale, Eidson, Skinner and Basten to attempt to cash the counterfeit checks at financial institutions and other commercial establishments. Haggard and Strait-Destefano provided the check passers with false identification, using the identities of real people without their permission.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Eggert and was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service; the U.S. Secret Service; the police departments of Springfield, Branson, Hollister, St. Robert, Carthage, Nixa, Troy, Strafford, Union, Washington, Linn, Lebanon and Neosho in Missouri; the Tulsa Police Department in Oklahoma; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the Christian County Sheriff’s Department; the Greene County Sheriff’s Department; the Fayetteville Police Department in Arkansas; the Arkansas State Police; and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department in Kansas.[[In-content Ad]]

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