Suspect in forgery, check fraud arrested
Two women pulled over on a traffic stop on the San Juan Ridge ended up in jail on a variety of charges, after deputies reportedly found a number of items associated with check forgery and identity theft in their vehicle.
A Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy was on patrol a little after midnight in the area of Highway 49 and Oak Tree Road, and noticed some vehicle code violations on the pickup truck, pulling it over, said Sheriff Keith Royal.
The driver said she did not have her driver’s license with her and provided another woman’s identity, Royal said. She subsequently was identified as Heather Leeanne Dudek, 32, of Camptonville.
Dudek reportedly admitted that she does not have a driver’s license, and had outstanding warrants in Sierra, Placer and Yuba counties.
A subsequent search of the vehicle on the passenger’s side uncovered syringes that tested positive for methamphetamine, as well as three hypodermic needles in the glove box, Royal said. Deputies also reportedly found a bank check and a checkbook that did not belong to either woman under the passenger seat.
A backpack in the bed of the truck contained mail belonging to the passenger, Leia Michelle Perez.
“It also contained personal information for more than 100 people — Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, bank account routing numbers, pin numbers and other personal information,” Royal said. “There were also check from other individuals made payable to others who were not Perez.”
Deputies reportedly also uncovered pre-made blank checks from a Wells Fargo bank in Penn Valley, as well as computer software that had been used to print checks, and check printing paper.
Dudek was arrested on suspicion of impersonating another and driving without a license; she also was charged with removing forest products without a permit, for reasons that were not available as of press time. She was being held in lieu of $14,000 bail. Perez, 32, also of Camptonville, was booked into county jail on charges of possessing a controlled substance, possessing blank checks with intent to defraud, passing forged checks, making fictitious checks, unauthorized use of others’ identity, using the identity of others with the intent to defraud, and possessing the identities of more than 10 people. She was being held in lieu of $12,500 bail.
Perez has a current Nevada County criminal case, for an April arrest on grand theft, forgery and identity theft charges. She has pleaded not guilty and is set to appear Thursday in Nevada County Superior Court.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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