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Employee, mother held in fraud scheme

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

A DeKalb County mother and daughter are being held in the Clayton County Jail on theft, forgery and fraud charges in connection with a scheme to steal furniture and merchandise from a Morrow store where the daughter worked.

A second daughter faces similar charges but is in the DeKalb County Jail on an unrelated case.

Marlon Sterling, regional operations manager for Ashley Furniture, called the scheme "elaborate" but declined to comment further.

"It is currently under investigation and we're working with the Morrow police," said Sterling Wednesday afternoon.

Tkeyah Shanell Vernon, 19, of Decatur worked at the Ashley Furniture Store in Morrow, according to Clayton Magistrate Court warrants. Sterling would not say how long she'd worked there. The warrants outline an alleged fraud scheme where Vernon falsified check approval on closed bank accounts so her mother, Tonya Lynn Greene, 45, also of Decatur, could buy furniture.

The warrants say the bank accounts were originally opened by Vernon and her sister, Tiquana Shanett Rollins, 24. Rollins has been charged but not arrested in the case. She is being held in the DeKalb County Jail for cocaine and marijuana possession, theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, according to jail records.

The mother, Tonya Greene, was released on bond from the DeKalb jail stemming from a January arrest on a bad check charge.

The warrant alleges that Vernon assisted Greene in the selection of $766.03 in merchandise Dec. 16, paying with a Navy Federal Credit Union check in Rollins' name. Vernon accepted the check and wrote a false driver's license number, false date of birth and expiration number to show she checked ID at the point of sale. Vernon then used a false check verification number, according to court records.

Eight days later, the warrant alleges, Vernon assisted Rollins in the selection of $3,081.71 in merchandise using the same scheme. On Jan. 6, Vernon did the same thing, the warrant alleges, buying $288.90 in merchandise with a check on a closed account.

According to the warrant, Sterling fired Vernon when she confessed her role in the alleged schemes. All of the items were recovered from the Decatur residences and returned to Ashley Furniture.