New criminal charges were filed in Warren County last month against a Marthasville man who is already facing criminal charges of forgery and fraud in Franklin County.
In Warren County, Elijah Briggs, 40, has been charged with one count of trafficking in stolen identities, a Class B felony; 10 counts of forgery, a Class D felony; and one count of possession of a forging instrument, a Class D felony. In Franklin County, Briggs has been charged with two counts of forgery, which is a Class D felony, and one count of fraudulent use of a debit card, which is a Class E felony.
Warren County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly King and Sheriff Kevin Harrison did not respond to The Missourian’s request for comment. Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Major TJ Wild directed The Missourian to contact Warren County for additional information.
In court documents, the Warren County Sheriff’s Department said they began investigating Briggs in March after being contacted by a rural Warren County resident who lives near Treloar and believed they were a victim of financial crimes after being contacted by The Missouri Bank, which has a branch in Warren County.
The bank had closed the individual’s account in February 2019 “due to the possibility of fraud.” Even with the account closed, police said bank officials told them there were two additional transactions that were pending. The amounts of the pending transactions were not disclosed, but both were payments to Charter Communications for an account that police later learned belonged to Briggs.
Police later searched Briggs’ home and vehicle on Lancashire Lake Drive, which is north of Marthasville, near Aspenhoff.
“The search warrant yielded in total hundreds of documents, including mail and unopened mail, credit cards, counterfeit checks, real checks, bank statements, tax information, typewriter, label maker, paper cutting boards, multiple laptops, cell phones, tablets, miscellaneous receipts, check stock and many other miscellaneous items from many different individuals,” Warren County Sheriff’s Department Detective Dean Jackson wrote in the probable cause statement. Jackson said he later was able to identify 80 different individuals whose personal information was located at Briggs’ rural Warren County residence. That personal information reportedly included Social Security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, credit and debit card numbers and other forms of account numbers.
“I located 120 checks. A large majority of them were owned by other individuals not known to Briggs. I located 32 checks which had either been modified or altered in some substantial fashion,” Jackson wrote. The probable cause statement does not specify how Briggs came to be in possession of this information.
A court date has not been set in this case, though Briggs is expected to appear before Associate Circuit Court Judge Stanley Williams for a preliminary hearing later this month. In the Oct. 21 hearing, Judge Williams will determine if there is probable cause to believe Briggs committed the crimes of forgery and fraudulent use of a credit card or debit card.
According to officers with the Washington Police Department, Briggs stole a debit card from someone’s vehicle and made or attempted to make 10 purchases on that card. Four of those alleged purchases occurred in Washington, and the rest occurred in Marthasville, Union and St. Louis.
The purchases in Washington were allegedly recorded by security cameras. Police said Briggs also withdrew or attempted to withdraw money out of the debit account nine times. The alleged withdrawals occurred in Marthasville, Union, St. Louis and St. Charles.
Briggs was also seen on security cameras depositing four counterfeit checks at a Washington ATM into the victim’s account for the amounts of $925, $1,500, $2,150 and $2,975. After making these deposits, police said Briggs would attempt to make purchases or ATM withdrawals of that money from the person’s account.