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Probation ordered in bad-check scam

– The last of a group of six people charged in a bad-check scheme pleaded guilty this week in Allen Superior Court.

Lonnika Hightower, 31, of the 400 block of East Masterson Avenue, pleaded guilty to a single charge of corrupt business influence.

In exchange for her guilty plea, Hightower will be given a suspended prison sentence of two years and ordered to serve two years on probation.

She and others were accused of working together to open accounts and cash hundreds of dollars in bad checks at branches of Professional Federal Credit Union.

Hightower; Monika Gaines, 25, of the 400 block of Williams Street; and Elgin Malone, 36, of the 1700 block of Tamara Gardens Avenue, were each charged with corrupt business influence in August. Gaines and Malone were also charged with fraud on a financial institution.

In October, however, the case against Malone was dismissed.

In January, Gaines pleaded guilty to corrupt business influence and was sentenced this month to two years’ probation.

Charges were also filed in April against Jordan Luna, 23, of the 2800 block of Abbott Street; Dilonia Burks, 23, of the 400 block of East Masterson Avenue; and Deandre Clay, 25, of the 1100 block of Fayette Drive. They were each charged with fraud on a financial institution and check fraud, and Clay was also charged with corrupt business influence. All of that group have since pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their roles in the scheme.

rgreen@jg.net

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