Man arrested for writing fraudulent checks from flood damaged school

Man arrested for writing fraudulent checks from flood damaged school

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge man has been arrested after authorities say he forged checks from a school, closed due to damage from the August 2016 flood.

Authorities have in custody Marshall Cooks, 28, of Raceland, on charges of forgery and attempted theft after reports he allegedly wrote fraudulent checks on a Central school's old bank account.

According to the probable cause report, on September 8, 2016, a representative for Central Community Schools reported to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office stolen and forged checks had been posted to the school's former bank account.

The school, Tanglewood Elementary School on the 9300 block of Rustling Oaks Dr., suffered heavy flood water damage due to the August 2016 flood and was closed for repairs. Deputies say the school hired a private contractor to conduct the gutting and demolition work.

According to deputies, on September 8, 2016 the school became aware of three school checks that were posted against its old banking account at Capital One. The school uses a different bank currently.

A representative from the school told deputies the old Capital One checkbook was not in use and was kept in a file cabinet at the school. Deputies say based on that information, it is suspected the contractors threw out the file cabinet containing the checkbook.

Banking records obtained by the school shows a Direct TV bill was also paid in Cooks' name for $69.

Deputies say after reviewing the checks, the representative contacted the contractor, who gave them Cooks' name. The contractor told deputies Cooks was not employed with the company.

According to the report, Cooks attempted to a cash a check for $407 on September 2, 2016 at a Baton Rouge area business. Due to suspicion from the business owner, the check was found to have no value and was not cashed.

Detectives say they obtained a copy of the check and the surveillance footage from the store, which shows Cooks attempting the cash the check with his Louisiana ID.

Cooks was booked and transported the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison where he is being held on a $5,500 bond for forgery.

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