Brown Sends Counterfeiter to Prison
Sonoma – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that Kim Louise Lemoine, 36, who passed “bogus” state government checks totaling $308,000, was sentenced today to five years in prison on charges of identity theft, forgery and grand theft.
Two of Lemoine’s associates are in custody; two remain at large.
“This band of counterfeiters fabricated 235 state government checks that looked and felt like the real thing,” Brown said. “They were able to pass these forgeries and amass more than $300,000.”
On March 11, 2009, Brown filed 63 criminal charges of grand theft, possession of counterfeit card making equipment, identity theft, forgery of a California driver’s license, forgery of a check and forgery of the California state seal against:
• Kim Louise Lemoine, 36, arrested on March 13, pled guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court on April 28 and was sentenced today to five years in prison;
• Hiedi Lynn Roth, 36, arrested on April 22, and is expected to be sentenced to 8 years in prison on July 21;
• Daria Inessa Sidorkina, 23, who is being held in Solano County jail on unrelated charges;
• Laura Renee Harkey, 29, who remains at large; and
• Mary Nicole Holstein, 35, who remains at large.
The defendants cashed 235 counterfeit checks at Bank of America branches located in 20 California counties from October 2007 until September 2008. The counterfeit checks ranged from $777 to $3,000.
The counterfeit checks looked similar to state-issued checks and included the state seal, bank routing information, and the state Controller’s signature. The driver’s licenses that the defendants used to verify their identifications also appeared valid. In reality, both the checks and driver’s licenses were forgeries, created at Lemoine’s home in Sonoma County.
On July 28, 2008, a bank teller in Sebastopol refused to cash one of the checks. After being informed that the check would not be honored, the suspect grew angry and demanded the items back. The bank employee refused, and the bank’s staff then contacted the California State Controller’s Office.
The Controller’s Office launched an investigation in conjunction with Brown’s office. Last September, agents discovered counterfeiting equipment capable of producing fraudulent checks and driver’s licenses, including laminating machines, printers, check paper and blank driver’s license cards at Lemoine’s home in Sonoma County.
The agents also discovered personal information for more than 50 individuals and businesses in a duffel bag. The information included credit reports, driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, and dates of birth.