Two men wanted locally for passing thousands of dollars in bad checks were picked up in Tennessee and Georgia by the U.S. Marshal’s Service last week.
Joseph C. Hajj, 32, of Nitro, W.Va., was arrested on Friday at a Red Roof Inn in Kennesaw, Ga., by the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Squad, according to the Associated Press.
At the time of his apprehension, Hajj was in the possession of a 2012 Dodge truck that was reported stolen the previous day from a dealership in Cartersville, Ga. — a vehicle stolen through the reported use of a fraudulent check.
Also arrested by U.S. Marshals was James H. Moore, 30, of Middleport, who was picked up Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The pair are accused of recently writing a bad check for the purchase of an ATV in Gallia County valued at over $9,000 and to giving Family Ford of Marietta, Washington County, a fraudulent check for $52,654 for a 2013 Ford truck on December 19.
At the time of his arrest in Tennessee, Moore was reportedly driving the stolen truck from Marietta.
The stolen ATV from Gallia County remains missing.
Collectively, the men are accused of obtaining more than $400,000 worth of vehicles, firearms, tools and gasoline through the use of fraudulent checks.
The Associated Press reports that there are active warrants for the men for similar activity in not only Gallia and Meigs counties, but also in West Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky.
Late last month, officials in Gallia and Meigs counties advised the public to be on the lookout for Hajj who was wanted by law enforcement for recently passing fraudulent checks to several local businesses.
The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office reported that Hajj was wanted on a charge of felony theft by deception and had recently been issuing checks locally that appeared to be from businesses, such as BA Contracting, Johnson Construction or JJ Construction.
The issued checks were likely made by the suspect, according to officials.
A warrant was also recently issued for Hajj in West Virginia after he allegedly passed a bad check to obtain a 2012 white Dodge Ram in Beckley.
According to a report filed with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, the stolen truck from Beckley was observed on Christmas Eve at a residence on Quail Creek Drive, Green Township, Gallia County.
Deputies who arrived to investigate the area were advised that a white male later identified as Hajj had escaped out a back door of one of the Quail Creek residences upon their arrival.
The truck parked at the residence was towed from the scene, and, according to the report, officers discovered fake checks Hajj allegedly used to purchase items from local businesses within the vehicle. The truck was inventoried and the items inside kept as evidence. Officials in Beckley, W.Va., were also notified of the vehicle’s recovery.
A second report filed with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office lists Hajj as a suspect in the alleged theft of an ATV on December 20, 2012, in Gallia County.
According to the report, Hajj had written a check in the amount of $9,113.73 to Kawasaki Motor Sports, located on Ohio 160, for a green 2012 Kawasaki ATV.
During the incident, the suspect was present with a second man later identified by witnesses as Moore.
After the suspects left the store with the ATV, the owner of the dealership contacted the bank listed on the check and was advised by bank employees that the check was fraudulent. He then contacted the sheriff’s office to advise deputies of the stolen vehicle.
A copy of the check attached to the police report is written out to Kawasaki Motor Sports. The business printed at the top of the check is J&J Construction with a listed address of 1825 Industrial Drive of Columbus, Ohio. The bank listed on the check is Peoples Bank of Marietta, Ohio.
At the time of this incident, Hajj and Moore were reportedly traveling in the stolen 2012 Dodge pickup stolen from Beckley, W.Va. — the vehicle later confiscated by deputies on Quail Creek Drive.
Hajj is further wanted in Gallia County for failing to appear for a pre-trial settlement conference in a 2012 case on October 17.
Hajj was indicted by a grand jury in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County after he allegedly passed a check in the amount of $51,888 to John Sang Ford of Gallipolis on February 28, 2012.
He was arrested on July 23 and appeared before Gallia County Common Pleas Judge D. Dean Evans on July 27 for an arraignment hearing.
Hajj was later released on his own recognizance in August and a warrant was issued after he failed to appear for the scheduled conference this October.
The indictment filed in this case lists Hajj’s address as 1675 Augusta Road, Thompson, Ga. However, paperwork later filed in this case lists the defendant’s new address as 147 Main Avenue, Nitro, W.Va.
The article released by the Associated Press on Saturday indicates that the Washington County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office has sent deputies to interview Moore in Chattanooga and Hajj in Cobb County, Ga., where they are being held, pending their extradition back to Ohio.
The men will later be transported to Meigs and Gallia counties, respectively, after their cases are heard in Washington County.