Published: 2:16 pm, Thu. Feb. 8th, 2018Updated: 2:15 pm
Detectives with the Artesia Police Department were contacted in May 2017 by a representative of EOG Services, who informed them checks issued by the company had been cashed with the number sequences duplicated.
Police learned several of the transactions during which those checks were cashed had been captured on surveillance video at Gregg’s Foods.
A May 7, 2017, video showed a white female enter the store just before 7 p.m. and cash a check in the amount of $765.46, issued by New Mexico Salt & Mineral Inc. of Overland Park, Kans.
Both the detective and a probation officer viewing the video were able to positively identify the individual as Margie K. Johnson, 36, of Artesia.
A May 15, 2017, video showed Johnson and a second woman, later identified as Brandy Rae Heard, enter the store.
Johnson proceeds to cash a check in the amount of $789.65, issued by EOG Y Resources of Artesia. Immediately after she leaves the store, Heard is seen cashing a check in the amount of $789.65, also issued by EOG.
Three minutes later, a Hispanic male was seen entering the store. He approached and spoke with Heard, then exited the store with her. Eleven minutes later, the same male was viewed on surveillance video entering Bennie’s Western Wear and cashing a check in the amount of $789.65, issued by EOG.
All three individuals used false names on the checks when cashing them.
Detectives went on to obtain May 16, 2017, surveillance video from La Tienda Thriftway in Carlsbad, which showed Heard cashing a check in the amount of $799.78, issued by EOG.
Both Johnson and Heard are charged with two counts of fraud (over $500 but less than $2,500), and conspiracy to commit fraud (over $500 but less than $2,500).
Johnson was arrested Wednesday by APD and has been scheduled for a March 14 preliminary examination on the charges in Artesia Magistrate Court. No court date has yet been set for Heard.
The APD is actively seeking the Hispanic male whose fraudulent check was cashed at Bennie’s. He was seen in surveillance video wearing a blue bandana on his head, black shorts, black shoes, and blue leggings, with a white, folded bandana on his back right side.
Anyone with potential information as to his identity is asked to contact the APD at 746-5000, or, anonymously, Crime Stoppers of Eddy County, 1-844-786-7227 or eddycountycrimestoppers.com.