Man sentenced to jail, over $6,500 in restitution for fake check scheme.

December 14, 2020

Benito Gonzalez appears in 27th Circuit Court via Zoom video conferencing from the Oceana County Jail.

Man sentenced to jail, over $6,500 in restitution for fake check scheme.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 43-year-old Grand Rapids man was sentenced in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Dec. 14, to serve nine months in jail and was ordered to pay $6,533.74 in restitution for a conviction of uttering and publishing.

Benito Gonzalez was involved in what appears to be an organized fake check scheme, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon.

“He went into various banks with what appeared to be payroll checks from various small businesses around the state,” said Bizon. “The checks were fake checks. The crime is for passing the checks.”

Local victims in the case were 5th/3rd and West Shore banks in Hart. The offense occurred in October of 2019.

Gonzalez has six prior felonies and three previous misdemeanor convictions, said Judge Robert D. Springstead, who also sentenced Gonzalez to two years probation.

Bizon said Gonzalez faces similar charges in Mason County.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 10-23 months, and Gonzalez’s sentence was a “downward departure” of one month from the guidelines, said Judge Springstead.

Gonzalez received credit for 113 days served in jail.

The court hearing was held via Zoom video conferencing due to COVID-19.

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