VENTURA : 2 Men Arrested on Forgery Charges

Ventura police arrested two men Wednesday on suspicion of trying to cash counterfeit payroll checks at Ventura County banks, officials said.

Detective Thomas Burke said Constantino Gutierrez Martinez, 23, and Celso Pasquez, 27, had more than 20 counterfeit checks in their car when they were arrested on Thompson Boulevard in Ventura about noon.

The checks were copies of payroll checks from two companies in Los Angeles County: G.E.M. Water Systems and Nik & Associates. Both men are suspected of working with a Los Angeles-based forgery ring, Burke said.

Martinez allegedly cashed one of the checks Wednesday at a Wells Fargo branch on Mills Road in Ventura and another at a Wells Fargo branch in Oxnard. A third attempt was made at a Wells Fargo branch on Chestnut Street in Ventura, but a teller became suspicious and Martinez fled, Burke said.

A witness who saw the exchange between Martinez and the teller gave police a description of the vehicle in which he left, police said.

Within minutes, a city parking officer spotted the car on Thompson and called for help. Pasquez is suspected of being an accomplice.

The two were booked into Ventura County Jail on charges of forgery and were being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.

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