After what officials call a long line of con artist-related criminal offenses in several states, Shirley Rush of Linn Creek, Mo. faces charges in Sharp County for defrauding a Missouri man and a Tennessee car lot for over $70,000, with a forged check used to open an account at a local bank.
According to a report obtained from the Sharp County Sheriff's Department, Detective Sergeant Ken Guidry was contacted April 11 by Joe Garner, a resident of Galena, Missouri. Garner told Guidry he had contact with a woman named Shirley Rush and, after attempting to withdraw a small amount of cash from an automated teller machine, discovered his checking account was overdrawn by $48,000. He told Guidry that his bank advised him a check in the amount of $50,000 had been written to Shirley Rush. Garner told the bank the check did not have his signature and determined Rush had taken a blank check from him. The bad check had been passed at First National Banking Company (FNBC) in Ash Flat.
Guidry obtained a copy of the check and Garner's signature card from the Missouri bank. After obtaining a subpoena from the prosecutor's office for all relevant documentation to the transaction at FNBC, including video, he presented it to the bank's security officer Rita Newman.
Newman confirmed the check was deposited into a new account at the bank opened by Rush on April 8. Later it was also confirmed, through both written documentation and video, that Rush opened the account at the Hardy branch of FNBC on April 8 with the $50,000 forged check on Garner's account.
Video evidence showed the woman opening the account at 9:55 a.m. and, thirty three minutes later, withdrawing $35,000 of the money from the Ash Flat branch. The following day, Rush withdrew an additional $12,000 from the account. Documentation showed Rush listed an address of 50 Orchard Drive in Williford on bank documents.
On April 18, Guidry went to the address and spoke to a person at the home. The tenant confirmed Rush owned the home and also told the detective she had property in Missouri. She said she was worried about Rush, because she hadn't seen her in several days and her cell phone was off.
An NCIC check performed by Guidry on Rush revealed a warrant in Missouri for check forgery, as well as 33 alias' and 10 social security numbers she has been known to use. After examination of the evidence gathered, an affidavit charging Rush with forgery and two counts of theft by deception were filed.
On April 20, Guidry checked with the Sharp County Clerk's office to see if any attempt had been made to file the deed on the property Rush had bought in Williford. Later in the afternoon, Guidry found Mary Taylor, the former owner of the property in the clerk's office and asked her if she would talk with him.
Taylor spoke with the detective, telling him she had recently sold her home to Rush for $32,000 and advised she paid cash for the home.
She told Guidry she thought it was odd that she left the area after the deed was signed over to her. Rush advised Taylor she did not want to go through a title company for the transaction, telling her she would record the deed later. Newman, with FNBC ,confirmed Taylor had used the money to pay off the mortgages on her home.
Nearly a month later on May 3, Newman once again contacted Guidry after receiving a check for a little over $21,000 check drawn on the account. The check was written to Veteran Motors in Jackson, Tennessee and deposited into a First South Bank in Jackson.
Guidry contacted the auto dealer and spoke with the manager, who confirmed he had recently sold a Chevy Corvette to Rush. The detective explained the situation, including the forgery and the fact that the check was not good.
The manager told Guidry Rush had been in town for a while and locals were under the impression she had a lot of money. Rush had also given a check to a local realtor as earnest money for the pending purchase of a restaurant, located next door to the dealership where she purchased the Corvette.
Guidry explained Rush was a con artist and the manger of the dealership agreed to help apprehend Rush. Shortly after the conversation with the manager, the owner of the car lot contacted Guidry advising him Rush was spotted by one of his employees pulling into a local restaurant in the vehicle. The employee blocked the Corvette in at the restaurant and called the Madison County Sheriff's Department. She was arrested shortly thereafter and given a first appearance hearing. A detective with Madison County advised Guidry, since the car lot had it's vehicle returned, there would be no charges filed.
Rush was extradited back to Sharp County from Tennessee on May 6, less than a month after opening the account. She was charged with forgery and theft by deceptin.
Rush is currently in the Sharp County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.