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OREM — Police have arrested an Orem man they say was involved in forging checks, money and identifications so he could buy meth.
Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said he's seen his share of forgery cases over the years, but he admits this one is unusual. Low denominations of bills were forged, an apparent attempt to not attract suspicion.
“Sometimes they will get accepted at different businesses, so it doesn't matter how poor. Sometimes they get away with it,” Martinez said.
Police said 41-year-old Daniel Shearer's alleged crime spree fell apart after he was caught trying to forge a check at the Orem Target on Dec. 11.
Detectives found out Shearer would be in court Tuesday in an unrelated case and confronted him then.
According to a police affidavit filed in 4th District Court, Shearer told police he printed and wrote the check to Target to obtain merchandise to trade for meth.
“They arrested him in the car,” Martinez said. “They found check paper, printed up fraudulent checks, printed fraudulent Utah driver's licenses, stolen credit cards, counterfeit money.”
Instead of counterfeiting $20 or $100 bills, Shearer made fake $1 and $5 bills, police said.
“The $5 bills all contain the same serial number, and the $1 bills are of such poor quality that they are obvious fakes,” the affidavit said.
Officers also found evidence of drug use, which they believe is the likely motive.
"It always points to money, which usually points to drugs,” Martinez said.
And it's a scheme that police are investigating more and more.
“I think (forgery) is always going to be on the rise because people can pass a piece of paper now and get a lot more money now than probably holding up a bank,” Martinez said.
But police say the crime will eventually catch up to those who try it.
“One thing about forgery, writing bad checks and credit card fraud, there is usually a paper trail,” Martinez said. “And it just takes a little bit of time, but you can usually track it back to someone.”
Shearer was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of forgery, production of false identification documents, and possession of drug paraphernalia.