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Man steals and alters check from nonprofit

Posted: 4:36 PM, Jun 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-24 20:04:12-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An East Nashville nonprofit mailed out their water bill last week to find that it had been cashed over the weekend, but it was cashed for 100 times more than the check was written for.

It happened to the folks at the Nikki Mitchell Foundation, a foundation focusing on pancreatic cancer support and research.

“Pancreatic cancer has now passed breast cancer as the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States,” said Rhonda Miles, president of the foundation. “We do awareness. We have a direct patient services program, which we financially help 40 patients each month, and we don’t let them go, as long as they need us, we’re there for them.”

The foundation was started after Miles’ best friend, Nikki Mitchell, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away in 2013.

Mitchell spent more than 20 years of her life as manager for Waylon Jennings, and made a lot of friends in the music industry along the way, including Jamey Johnson, who with Miles, formed the nonprofit with the goal of helping people all around the country, including here in Nashville.

“We have a girl here in Nashville that’s 28 years old that was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” Miles said, adding that they provide assistance to people all across the country.

While most of their money goes to assistance or research, they still have bills to pay, and on Friday morning, they were expecting to mail out a check to Metro Water to pay for their water bill.

After checking their account balance, they noticed that something was wrong. There was a check that was cashed for $1,700.80.

“When I see a $1,700 check come through that I didn’t write. I’m gonna check it out,” Miles said.

Miles realized that the check number matched the one she wrote to Metro Water, but the person who checked it was not a Metro Water employee, and it was not for the amount that Miles wrote.

“This was my check that I mailed, and it said ‘Metro Water’ and it was $17.80,” Miles said while showing us a copy of the check. “So now it’s… George somebody, I’m not sure who George is, and it’s $1,700.80.”

A man named George altered the check, made it in his name, made it more money, and cashed it.

“My brain does not work that way. My brain does not work in a criminal way,” Miles said.

Luckily, the bank reimbursed the nonprofit after hearing about the issue, and since the man cashed the check and was even caught on a Ring doorbell camera. The bank is investigating with hopes to capture the man.

As for Miles and the folks at the nonprofit, they say this is a lesson that they need to be more cautious, even if it’s a check meant to pay a bill, and they hope others are too.

“I just want people to be more aware that there are people that don’t think like us. You know? And your stuff is vulnerable. It’s sitting out there waiting for George to come by and pick it up.”

If the man is caught, he will likely face charges of check fraud.