Meggan Zarrilli and Kimberly Ann Jones were arrested in Chapel Hill, Florida for identity theft late last week after both women allegedly tried to cash fraudulent checks. Zarrilli, 25, of Cooper City, and Jones, 36, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla were both charged with one count of felony obtaining property by false pretense, one count of felony attempt to obtain property by false pretense, one count of felony identity theft and one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Zarrilli was also charged with two counts of felony forgery of instrument; Jones also faces two counts of felony uttering forged instrument, two counts of felony forgery of endorsement, an additional count of felony identity theft, two counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods and one count of misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Jones is believed to have headed the operation, while Zarrilli is thought to have been an accomplice. It is not clear how the two women know each other. Both suspects remain incarcerated in Orange County Jail in lieu of paying $100,000 bail bond apiece. It is unclear whether either Zarrilli or Jones has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
The police report indicates that a bank teller from State Employer’s Credit Uniton, located in Chapel Hill Wells Fargo branch, called the Chapel Hill Police Department on March 14 to inform them that the two women had attempted to cash fraudulent checks and that one of the women had been wearing a wig during the attempt. Police rushed to the scene quickly enough to apprehend Kimberly Jones, who was driving away from the scene with Meggan Zarrilli in the passenger seat.
“Officers got there very quickly and were able to stop the vehicle that Ms. Jones was driving,” commented a sergeant from the Chapel Hill Police Department. “With a short investigation they were able to determine that they were in fact trying to pass a check that was fraudulent.” Police also found drug paraphernalia and marijuana in the women’s possession upon making the arrest.
An investigtion into the incident revealed that two checks for $995 each were cashed at different State Employee Credit Unions on the same day. Officials suspect that Jones and Zarrilli may have been behind those checks, which were fraudulent as well. Someone from the bank called in the incident after the suspects had already fled the area, making it impossible for police to catch them.
An official from the Chapel Hill Police Department said that police often do not find out about identity theft and fraudulent check incidents at banks until the suspects have fled the scene. “We just happened to get there quickly enough to catch them as they were doing it. Typically, we don’t get notice until days later,” he said, adding that these cases are made even more complicated because the identity theft often took place in a separate location than the check cashing: Jones and Zarrilli have been accused of stealing a Mecklenburg driver’s license, meaning that the identity theft charge is under the jurisdiction of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.