Man arrested after committing check fraud

A Bartholomew County man accused of stealing more than $2,000 worth of merchandise from local businesses using fraudulent checks was arrested Wednesday.

Archie Ray Horton, 45, of Columbus is facing charges of fraud against a bank/financial institution, a Level 5 felony; theft with an unrelated prior conviction, a Level 6 felony; and a misdemeanor charge of check fraud.

According to the probable cause affidavit signed by Detective Mark Holt with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, police were contacted by someone from Prewitt Outdoor Power in Seymour claiming they had received a check as a method of payment from Horton for two chainsaws, totaling $738.28. The check was returned as unable to cash, Holt said.

Horton had been contacted by someone from Prewitt regarding payment for the merchandise, according to court records.

Horton claimed he would pay for it and had written the fraudulent check by mistake. Prewitt then contacted police after Holton did not make good on his promise, according to the affidavit.

Police said that led them to request Holton’s bank records. Upon receiving his bank records from over the last calendar year, police saw a pattern of fraudulent checkwriting. This included five instances of checks written to businesses from Horton’s account that had insufficient funds several times and was eventually closed.

According to police, many of these businesses, located in the Columbus and Seymour areas, had claimed to have made contact with Horton and were told by him that he would pay for the merchandise, but he never did.

A warrant was issued for Horton’s arrest April 14 by Jackson Circuit Court Judge Richard W. Poynter.

Horton was arrested and booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown at 5:03 p.m. Wednesday.

A Level 5 felony carries a sentence of one to six years with an advisory sentence of three years if convicted.