Philadelphia police on Friday arrested a 21-year-old man who they say bilked multiple victims out of tens of thousands of dollars in a months-long bank-fraud scheme.
Raymond Starr was charged with theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver, and related offenses. Police say he was the ringleader of a group that engaged in similar behavior. Some in the group were arrested over the summer.
Police on Friday also arrested and charged Muhammad Sadaat Ali White, 21, in the scam, and were seeking another suspect Friday night.
Capt. Roland Lee of the Major Crimes Division, announcing the arrest, said Starr persuaded people to deposit checks for him in their bank accounts, saying he did not have a checking account of his own, and give him the cash. The checks bounced, but by then Starr had already made off with the cash, police said.
He swindled $30,000 alone from one bank, TruMark Financial Credit Union, police said. They expected that figure would grow.
They said Starr targeted mostly young people, whom he met on college campuses and South Street - and who would be more likely to trust him. The values of the bad checks varied, but many were for between $2,000 and $3,000, police said.
At the apartment where Starr was arrested on Roosevelt Boulevard, police found illegal prescriptions and pills - Oxycodone, Xanax, and other muscle relaxants. They said they suspected Starr, who lived on the 7100 block of North Uber Street, had invested the stolen cash in the drugs, which sell for about $10 per pill on the street.
They also found two clippings of the Philadelphia Daily News' "Week's Most Wanted" feature, both featuring Starr and asking for the public's help in finding him.