Five people have been convicted in a counterfeit check ring in which homeless people were recruited from Columbia area parks to cash fraudulent checks, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday.
Shawnetta Shawntae Wise, 23, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to participating in a counterfeit pay check ring. In the past six weeks, four co-defendants from Columbia - Cisco Vandelly Knightner, 30, Ellis Darnell Hand, 21, Richard Corbin, 40, and Brandon George Henry Wise, 22 - were convicted for their roles in the ring.
All will be sentenced later.
Area merchants who cashed the counterfeit checks lost more than $47,000 over a five-month period in 2008, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The maximum penalty Wise and her co-defendants face is a $250,000 fine and five years in prison.