Father and son accused of passing fraudulent checks
A father and son are facing charges for allegedly sending fraudulent checks to two different banks to cover vehicle loans. The suspects allegedly admitted to writing checks backed by 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,' rather than a bank.
James Turner Bogan went to Gurley Leep in Mishawaka in August 2015 and purchased a 2016 Yukon with a loan backed by Old National Bank and a 2015 Buick Lacrosse backed by a loan from Teacher's Credit Union.
His son, James Demarco Bogan, was with him the day he purchased the vehicles.
Not long after the Bogans took possession of the vehicles, both banks sent delinquency notices to James Turner's address for failure to pay on the loans.
In October 2015, TCU received a cashier's check from the James Demarco Bogan Trust, with James Turner Bogan's signature in the amount of $43,301, the payoff amount for the Lacrosse, reports said.
TCU determined the check was fake, according to the probable cause affidavit.
TCU had already repossessed the vehicle and James Demarco contacted the bank and demanded they zero out the balance on the loan for the Lacrosse.
Also in October 2015, Old National Bank received a cashier's check from the James Demarco Bogan Trust, with James Turner Bogen's signature in the amount of $83,234.70, the payoff on the Yukon.
Old National Bank determined the check was fraudulent, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Old National Bank attempted to repossess the Yukon, but James Demarco told repossession agent to leave his property and they would never find the vehicle, reports said.
In December 2015, deputies with the Berrien County Sheriff's Department served a search warrant on the Bogan home on Fairplain in Michigan.
During the search officers located computers, printers, blank check stock, other fake checks, and correspondence with banks regarding checks, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Both James Demarco and James Turner agreed to speak with deputies about the checks claiming to be from the James Demarco Bogan Trust.
James Demarco said he was the head of the trust and his father James Turner had authorization to use the trust.
James Demarco said the trust is not backed by a bank, but is backed by "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that life is invaluable," according to the probable cause affidavit.
He allegedly admitted to sending the check to TCU, but then made statements referencing jurisdiction, negotiable instruments and the validity of laws, reports said.
The statements James Demarco made are commonly associated with the sovereign citizen movement where people claim they are answerable only to their interpretation of the law, are not subject to any statues or proceedings at federal, state or municipal levels and do not recognize US currency, according to the probable cause affidavit.
James Turner was asked if he understood when he purchases a vehicle with a loan he must make monthly payments.
He replied that is normally the way it works, but it is not how it works in this case, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Both James Turner and James Demarco are each facing two counts of fraud on a financial institution.
James Turner has been taken into custody. A warrant has been issued for James Demarco's arrest.