Fraudulent Checks, fictitious Businesses, and $40,000 in grand theft. Those are the charges being brought against a Panama City man tonight...charges that are coming directly from his employer.
Auto salvage store 'Pick n Pull' noticed some inconsistencies in their books, and the trail led to 43 year old William Smith.
His accused crime is very elaborate. As a 'Pick n Pull' employee, Smith traveled through the south purchasing scrap vehicles on behalf of the company. He would routinely make hundreds of purchases.
Investigators say in some cases, he would arrange for pick and pull to write him checks to fake businesses. 'Pick n Pull' never received the vehicles. Smith proceeded to cash the checks through those fictitious businesses, totaling $40,000. After a while however, employees noticed something was wrong.
"They recognized their balance of their funds, inventory differences, and they did an investigation on their own which is very well expected...and they immediately contacted the authorities," said Lieutenant Robert Luther with the Panama City Police Department.
Smith was booked into the Bay County Jail, charged with ongoing scheme to defraud and grand theft. Lieutenant Luther says it looks like he wasn't alone in this case, as more arrests are expected.
If you have any information in reference to this incident please contact Detective McLaughlin at the Panama City Police Department, 850-872-3112 or you can report your tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 850-785-TIPS.