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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The ringleader of a plot that defrauded multiple Rhode Island banks out of tens of thousands of dollars through a counterfeit check scheme has been sentenced to five years in prison, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Terrance Richardson, 30, of Providence, was also sentenced Friday to three years of probation after pleading guilty in March to a dozen counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and ordered to pay more than $80,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.

Richardson and several alleged accomplices created counterfeit checks using bank accounts from real businesses and people, prosecutors said. Those checks were then deposited into the accounts of people who agreed to participate in the conspiracy in exchange for a cash payment, often solicited through social media.

After the fake checks were deposited, the proceeds were quickly withdrawn, often before the banks could determine that the checks were fraudulent.

The scheme ran from about April 2020 until March 2021, authorities said.

The Associated Press

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