CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Putnam sheriff's deputies are searching for a Kentucky woman who they say used fake checks to scam several branches of a county bank out of thousands of dollars.
For nearly a year, Carolyn Lykins, 50, of Grayson Ky., used phony checks from other closed bank accounts to make deposits into a recently opened First State Bank account, according to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court.
Lykins would take one of the bad checks to a First State Bank branch, request that the tellers deposit part of the amount into her new account, and give her the rest of the balance in cash or as a traveler's check, Sgt. Lisa Arthur wrote in the complaint.
She would then go to another county branch of First State Bank and repeat the process before the banks received notification that the checks were fraudulent, Arthur said.
On May 5, Lykins went to the First State Bank in Hurricane and gave the teller a $1,250 check from a closed Citizens Bank account. Lykins asked the employee to deposit $250 into her First State account and give her the rest of the money in cash, Arthur said.
The teller made the deposit and handed Lykins $1,000 in cash.
She returned to the bank later that day and gave a teller $3,500 in cash and a $2,500 check made in her name from another closed account from a Kentucky credit union.
Lykins requested that the bank give her a $6,000 traveler's check. The teller made the traveler's check, but told Lykins, who had apparently requested the transaction in the bank's drive-thru, that she needed to step inside and sign for it.
"When she heard this," Arthur wrote in the complaint. "[Lykins] told the teller to deposit all of it into her account and drove away."
During the investigation, Arthur found that Lykins never had an account at either Citizen's Bank or the credit union. Those companies do not keep records of returned checks when an account is closed, Arthur said.
From April 28 to May 5, Lykins allegedly made $15,000 in fraudulent transactions, Arthur said. She is charged with conducting a fraudulent scheme.
Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.