Fraud suspect active locally

Woman allegedly asked bank patrons to cash bad checks

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

A Portland woman is potentially tied to a string of scams involving forged checks investigated by three different agencies, including the Vancouver Police Department.

Susan Lyghts, 25, was arrested on Jan. 26 after she reportedly stood outside of a bank and asked people to cash a check for her and to give her cash, Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said.

She was arrested on charges of first-degree forgery, two counts of identity theft and possession of a forged instrument.

A victim in Clackamas County also picked out Lyghts in a line up as the person who allegedly scammed her out of $400.

In that instance, Lyghts approached the woman outside of another Portland bank on Dec. 13 and said she couldn't cash her check because her ID was broken, according to Clackamas County Deputy Marcus Mendoza. The check was made out for $500, and she begged the woman to cash it for her and she could have $100, which she did, Mendoza said.

The check in that case was traced back to a Vancouver man, who reported that his checks were missing, and that the account the checks were tied to had been closed.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office took another report of a similar scam about a month later at the same bank, where a man reported a similar scenario with a woman who was described as similar to Lyght on Jan. 16.

Yet another similar case was reported to the Vancouver Police Department that dated back to November 2012.

When it was first reported, police didn't have anything but a description of the woman.

A man reported that on Nov. 21, a woman approached him at Columbia Credit Union, 11505 N.E. Fourth Plan Blvd., and said she lost her ID asked the man to cash a $500 check for her, Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

The check, she said, came from the same account as one of the cases in Clackamas County. In the second case reported to Clackamas County deputies, the victim has not yet given authorities the check to link all of the cases.

The information in that case has been forwarded to the prosecuting attorney's office, Kapp said.

She reminded people that it is good practice to shred any important documents and warned the public not to give money to people you don't know.