Feb. 22—As part of a year-long investigation, Spring Township police said Monday that they raided the Temple home of a man accused in a check-fraud scheme.
Armed with an arrest warrant and assisted by Muhlenberg Township police, members of the Spring Township criminal investigations unit hoped to arrest Isaiah Egziabher, 20, at the residence Friday in the 1600 block of Buchanon Drive in Muhlenberg Township. But Egziabher was not home and remains at large.
Police earlier had obtained a search warrant for the home to look for evidence of an ongoing scheme in which, they said, Egziabher is a central figure.
Investigators seized a laptop computer, printers, check paper, a victim's checkbook and additional computer-related items. Some of the checks were reproductions of legitimate checks of business and individuals for a total value in excess of $150,000.
Spring Criminal Investigator Cory Huntsinger initiated the investigation into the so-called credit card crack scam in January 2020.
In such a scheme, perpetrators attract partners through social media advertisement, targeting vulnerable people, such as those who are unemployed, with offers of quick cash in return for their participation, Huntsinger explained.
The partners are paid to provide their debit card account information so bogus checks can be electronically deposited, then quickly withdrawn through an ATM or a money-transfer app such as PayPal, he said.
Huntsinger said he was assigned to investigate when Diamond Federal Credit Union on Paper Mill Road in the township reported multiple instances of this type of check fraud.
A couple dozen participants have been identified and further charges are expected, he said.
Three others whom police described as ring leaders have been arrested on charges of forgery, unlawful use of a computer, theft by deception and conspiracy.
They were identified as Mohammed B. Bayoh, 29, who was arrested Friday at his home in the 300 block of James Street Sinking Spring; Anthony T. Sako, 21, who was arrested on drug charges in September and has a last known address in the 300 block of Fisher Lane; and Steven Webb-Jackson, 22, who was arrested in September at his home in the 200 block of North Fourth Street.
Bayoh was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail following arraignment Friday afternoon before District Judge Ann L. Young. Sako and Webb-Jackson were already in custody on other charges.
Anyone who knows of Egziabher's whereabouts is asked to contact Huntsinger at 610-678-3431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.