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HILLSVILLE — Secret Service agents recently praised the Hillsville Police Department investigator for helping crack a major counterfeiting case.
Federal agents Wade Fleming and Greg Watson, based out of Roanoke, visited the town police department to thank Sgt. James Alderman Jr. for solving the case of Regina Hines Hill.
“This was the young lady that got caught up in the Nigerian fraud scheme, where somebody would solicit her over the Internet to cash checks and do other criminal activity,” Fleming said. “Oftentimes, we're not able to prosecute those people ‘cause they’re semi-suspects [and also] victims, but in this case this lady kept doing it.”
Hill has formally entered a guilty plea to two charges placed against her as the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Secret Service and the Hillsville Police Department. She pleaded guilty to two counts of "possessing and uttering a forged and counterfeit security of an organization," which, according to court papers, carries with it a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine and a 10-year prison term for each charge.
Hill faced the charges after two incidents with forged and counterfeit checks. On Nov. 14, 2010, Hill allegedly deposited a forged and counterfeit check purporting to be from the First Hawaiian Bank online in the amount of $1,480, according to the federal indictment. On Jan. 3, Hill allegedly deposited a forged and counterfeit check purporting to be a Fifth Third Bank cashier’s check in the amount of $22,100.
Alderman was investigating the case at the local level, and he got in touch with Watson, Fleming said. They began working together.
In the meantime, Hall stayed involved with the scam, despite being warned by investigators.
Due to Alderman and Watson’s investigation, Hall ended up being charged in multiple jurisdictions, Fleming said. Police seized around $400,000 in counterfeit checks that Hall was going to send out to other people across the country in connection with the fraudulent activities.
Those hundreds of checks, at about $2,000 each, would have eaten up a lot of police department resources across the country if they had to be investigated individually, Fleming said.
“Just the amount of money that could have been lost had the not intercepted those and the number of man-hours from other departments that would have been involved in investigating that,” the Secret Service agent said. “We just want to thank you for the hard work and dedication.”
Fleming handed Alderman a wall plaque with a special recognition for his “superior contributions to law enforcement,” signed by the director of the U.S. Secret Service.
Alderman deserves this recognition not just for his help on this case, said Watson. The investigator also refers other counterfeit cases to the federal agents, as well as Internet crimes, child pornography and crimes against children.
“We can’t do our job without local investigators,” Watson said. “I’d say Junior is relentless — day and night he goes after these people.”
With 24 years in law enforcement, Alderman recently received his master’s degree in law enforcement studies.