A Philadelphia man used $355,000 in counterfeit checks in a scheme to obtain fraudulent loans for business owners and religious leaders, according to an indictment filed yesterday by the U.S. attorney here.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Arthur Jenkins, who in 1989 pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court to stealing $26,107 from 29 victims who sought loans through his company.

Patty Hartman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said that no attorney for Jenkins had registered with the court. Jenkins could not be located.

The eight-count indictment alleges that Jenkins, presenting himself as a broker who helped people with poor credit obtain loans, contacted small business owners and religious leaders who had placed advertisements in newspapers seeking loans.

He gave the would-be borrowers counterfeit checks from the Philadelphia Contributorship Insurance in Philadelphia, DuBell Lumber Co. in South Jersey, and other companies. The scheme called for the borrowers to deposit the checks, withdraw the money before the banks discovered the fraud, and give Jenkins half of it.

The grand jury indictment specified that Bank of America Corp. lost $61,000 in the scheme. Other banks that may have lost money are Wachovia Corp., PNC Financial Services Group and Commerce Bancorp Inc.

The indictment calls for Jenkins, who faces a maximum sentence of 160 years in prison and up to $5 million in fines, to forfeit at least $98,000.

Contact staff writer Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.