Home News Local News Oregon man arrested for alleged check fraud
Oregon man arrested for alleged check fraud
Some checks allegedly written for purchases in Union County
A man who allegedly ran a check fraud scheme dating back to late 2012 throughout Northeast Oregon was arrested while serving a sentence on unrelated charges.
Luis Ernesto Fuentes-Parada, 27, was arrested Tuesday on a Union County Northwest States felony warrant while lodged at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario. The felony warrant charged Fuentes-Parada with racketeering, four counts of second-degree forgery, two counts of second-degree theft, four counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and two counts of third-degree theft.
Law enforcement officials suspect that Fuentes-Parada ran his alleged check scheme in at least late 2012.
“It was a fairly sophisticated operation,” said Capt. Craig Ward of the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Ward explained that Fuentes-Parada allegedly produced fraudulent checks with a check-producing machine and a computer program. Fuentes-Parada possibly wrote bogus checks in at least Union, Baker and Umatilla counties.
“We strongly suspect he was operating in all three counties,” Ward said.
Close to $1,000 worth of items were purchased with the bad checks Fuentes-Parada allegedly wrote. Items Fuentes-Parada allegedly bought included a $220 circular saw, a $34 Dutch oven, $27 worth of dog food and a $110 camp stove.
The bogus checks Fuentes-Parada allegedly provided did not look fraudulent but they did have one suspicious quality.
“Everyone noticed that they felt funny, the paper was thicker,” Ward said.
Law enforcement officials had been suspicious of Fuentes-Parada regarding the alleged fraudulent checks since at least the fall of 2012. Suspicions were raised during a traffic stop in Umatilla County on Nov. 6, 2012, when a law enforcement officer found a printer, ink cartridges and false identification in his vehicle.
Ward said footage from a surveillance camera at one of the stores Fuentes-Parada allegedly wrote a bogus check to played a key role in the arrest.
“It was extremely helpful,” Ward said. “That broke the case.”
Fuentes-Parada has been incarcerated at the Snake River Correctional Institution since Feb. 27, 2013. He is serving time after being convicted of charges of first-degree forgery and six counts of identify theft. The earliest he could be released from prison on these convictions is Aug. 8.
Fuentes-Parada has a number of last name aliases, according to information provided by the Snake River Correctional Facility. They include Parada, Fuentes Parada and Fuentesparada.
Fuentes-Parada is believed to have lived in Umatilla County before he began serving his sentence at the Snake River Correctional Institution.
Ward said it is becoming increasingly easier to make bogus checks because of sophisticated software and high quality printers. Ward said that anyone who suspects a fraudulent check should call the bank listed on it to confirm that it is legitimate.
“Trust your instincts,” Ward said.