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Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A Thompson ruled last week that there is sufficient evidence for the accused leader of a counterfeit ring to stand trail.
Joseph Michael Main, 40, of Stonyford, stands charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, two counts of forgery, and identity theft after an alleged co-conspirator identified him as the “head honcho,” according to the testimony of Colusa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Trenton Beck, at a preliminary hearing on March 4.
Beck said the accusation came on the evening of Aug. 27, 2018, after Tamu Joy Walker, 43, and Anthony Goodson, 52, were arrested at the Colusa Casino on suspicion of trying to pass fraudulent Papa Murphy checks.
Their arrest followed a report earlier in the day from a Colusa County Library official to the Sheriff’s Office that Walker and Goodson, who signed in at the Colusa branch to use the copy equipment, were behaving suspiciously for approximately three hours by printing off the pizza company’s checks using watermarked paper they brought with them, Beck said.
Upon questioning at the casino, Goodson identified Main to Sgt. Matthew Purcell as the one who instructed Goodson as to what to do to “make some money,” Beck said. Goodson was in possession of multiple Papa Murphy checks made out to him and Walker, in various amounts, and about 50 sheets of the same watermarked paper.
The day after the couple’s arrest, a library official identified Main as being in the library with them from a photo taken from Main’s social media page, according to testimony.
Walker and Goodson have since pleaded guilty to charges related to the incident and are currently serving out their sentences.
Main, who failed to appear in court on the charges, was arrested on a bench warrant in January.
Beck testified, under questioning by Defense Attorney John K. Hinely, that Main was not at the casino on the evening of Walker and Goodson’s arrest.
Beck also testified that Main was never found to be in possession of any replicated Papa Murphy’s checks, nor were any of the fake checks made out to him.
The judge, however, agreed with Deputy District Attorney Winston Welch that there was sufficient evidence that Main was involved in the conspiracy to move the case forward to trial.
“It is a question for the jury,” Welch said
Main will be arraigned on criminal charges on April 22. He is also facing a misdemeanor shoplifting charge in a separate incident.
Main is currently out of jail on $60,000 bail. ■