A South Carolina man is accused of buying expensive power equipment from Lowe’s stores using business accounts and fake checks.
Bobby Cherry, 58, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina said Friday in a press release.
According to court documents, Cherry was involved in a scheme to defraud Lowe’s Home Improvement of more than $450,000 over the course of two years.
The Manning, S.C. native plotted with two other men to run the illegal operation with a slew of fictitious landscaping and home improvement companies. A grand jury indicted Cherry, Russell Leroy Calvin and Michael Marcel Montgomery in August.
The trio deposited counterfeit checks into several accounts and would hand pick equipment from stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. More than 60 checks running through at least 20 checking account from August 2019 to March 2020 were used in the criminal activity.
Lowe’s, which is based in Mooresville, N.C., detected the fraudulent activity, prosecutors said in court documents. Some of the stores the three men reportedly frequented were in Charlotte and the surrounding area including Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Union counties.
Before the checks bounced, Cherry would buy thousands of dollars worth of items from Lowe’s that included riding lawn mowers and Husqvarna equipment, which makes forest and gardening outdoor power tools, prosecutors said.
“In total, during the course of the scheme, the co-conspirators opened at least 25 such fraudulent business accounts which they used to obtain more than $450,000 in fraudulently purchased goods,” prosecutors said.
Cherry faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Montgomery pleaded guilty to similar charges in February but has not been sentenced. The charges against Calvin are still pending, prosecutors said.
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