ST. GEORGE- A Las Vegas man is in jail after officers responded to a scam call and found the suspect attempting to pass a fake savings bond, and three others are believed to be discovered by police during a search of the suspect’s truck after his arrest.
St. George Police officers responded Jan. 8 to a South River Road credit union following a report of bank fraud.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the suspect was at the credit union attempting to write fraudulent checks. They were also informed the suspects he would be sitting inside the bank near the front doors, wearing a dark hoodie.
Officers arrived and spoke to the bank clerk who pointed to one of the loan officer desks where the suspect was sitting, and when asked the man walked out with the officer and identified himself as Anthony Vincent Frenza, 56, of Las Vegas.
Officers learned the suspect was at the bank attempting to redeem a U.S. savings bond under a new account, which was consistent with an ongoing nationwide fraudulent scheme, according to the branch manager who was involved in the transaction and then spoke to the police.
The branch manager contacted the credit union’s fraud department and was told that the savings bond presented by the suspect was ‘not only fake, but there was no record of such bonding’ , says the report.
This led officers to determine that Frenza may have been in possession of a false document and was attempting to commit communications fraud, the officer noted.
Frenza was sitting in a van outside the bank when he was pulled over by police and allegedly argued with the officer over his arrest, that is, when a K-9 unit was called in to perform an open air sniff. the exterior of the vehicle. Shortly after, the animal reported the possible presence of illegal narcotics.
Officers obtained a warrant and during a search of the van they retrieved a black backpack from the floor of the van and inside they found two plastic bags. One bag contained suspected methamphetamine, while the second contained a dark substance compatible with heroin – which later tested positive in the field.
Also inside the truck, officers found three other savings bonds that also appeared fake.
The suspect was taken into custody. During a pre-transport search, police say they found a glass pipe containing white burnt residue in one of the suspect’s pockets.
Frenza was rushed to the Purgatory Correctional Facility for second-degree fraud in criminal communications, as well as four third-degree counts of possession of a fake device. He also faces two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of paraphernalia.
The suspect was formally charged with the offenses and made a first appearance in 5th District Court, where the judge ordered Frenza to remain in custody on $10,000 bond.
Fake Securities and the US Treasury
According to the US Treasury and Bureau of the Fiscal Service, there are a number of fraudulent schemes involving bonds and securities that fraudsters pass off as being backed by the Treasury Department or another part of the US government.
These scams are usually directed at banks, but can also be presented to other businesses, charities, and even individuals by criminals looking to get paid on these bogus credentials.
The way savings bonds are presented often indicates whether the bond is real or fake. These Treasuries are sold at public auction on a regular auction schedule well known to those who intend to buy them – not through private placements. Additionally, the US Treasury does not allow financial entities or individuals to act as intermediaries to sell marketable bonds or Treasury securities, but they are available through banks and brokerage houses.
This report is based on statements taken from court records, police or other stakeholders and may not contain the full extent of the conclusions. Those arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court or until a trier of fact decides otherwise.
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