A Pinal County Recorder's Office employee likely compromised the identities of numerous county residents in a check-washing ring that has led to the arrest of four people, according to search warrants executed in the case.
The county employee, Albert Robbs, 51, was arrested last month on charges of theft, identity theft and tampering with public documents after deputies searched his office.
Sheriff and county officials have refused to comment further on the case because they say that it is now in the hands of the state Department of Public Safety. The case was handed off, they say, because the ring involved a county employee.
However, search warrants executed in the case show that Robbs was pointed out to investigators by the live-in boyfriend of the central figure in the case, Cheryl Parsons, a 33-year-old woman who lived in Florence Heights Apartments in Florence, the documents show.
Parsons, Carole Lewis, 61, and Parson's live-in-boyfriend, who is not fully identified in the warrants, also were arrested in the case in early December on charges related to theft and forgery.
In an interview with sheriff's detective Jeffrey Pizzi, Parsons' live-in boyfriend said he had personally taken a check from Robbs that originated from the recorder's office, and he had received packages that he believed contained personal financial information from county residents.
"Over the past two years and on at least six occasions, Albert Robbs has delivered envelopes containing what he believed to be checks and routing numbers," according to the search warrant. "He then passed on the envelopes and checks to his live-in girlfriend, Cheryl Parsons."
Deputies discovered numerous checks addressed to the recorder's office, voter registration forms and notary public pages while searching Parson's residence and one other, according to the warrants.
They also found Parsons owned an iron used to laminate fake IDs, that she possessed fraudulent checks, checks containing victims' names and various Social Security cards.
Investigators were tipped to the illegal activity in October when a formal complaint was made by a California resident who said that two forged checks had been passed using her bank's routing numbers, according to the warrants.
Investigators eventually found additional forged checks that used aliases, a victim's driver's license number and another victim's bank routing number. The scheme connected fraudulent names and check forgeries to valid bank routing numbers.
Detectives found some of the checks were written at Wal-Mart stores in Casa Grande and Tucson, a Bath and Body in Tucson and a Fry's Food and Drug Store in Marana, according to the warrants.
Robbs will not be allowed to return to his county jobwhile out on bail, county officials said.