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Leader of check forging ring faces sentencing in Rhinelander

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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAU) – A sentencing hearing gets underway in Rhinelander later today for the man who masterminded a scheme to forge checks using the names of Wisconsin soldiers killed in Iraq.

James Larson will be sentenced on a forgery charge at 2 p.m. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss two other charges, including misappropriating identity to claim money and another forgery count. But Judge Patrick O’Melia can consider those charges when he punishes Larson.

Two co-defendants have already been sentenced. Bobby MCCleod is serving a five-and-a-half year prison term while Tina Mitchem has finished serving a nine-month jail sentence and is now on probation.

A sheriff’s deputy arrested Larson and the two others during a traffic stop last year. Police found computers, a printer and software used to make the checks.

Investigators found two checks forged at the Walgreen’s in Woodruff using the names of Wisconsin soldiers killed in Iraq. The suspects also allegedly bought gift cards with the forged checks then used the gift cards to buy other products.

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