Sheriff's Office

PR #:
2021-96
Date Issued:
Jul 09, 2021 - 11:59AM

For Immediate Release

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Detectives make arrest in large-scale fraud lab

Case Number:
WC21-2377
Contact:
Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Detectives have arrested Brian Salas-Suarez, 25, of Reno for running a large-scale fraud lab which defrauded local businesses of thousands of dollars.

In May of 2021 detectives began investigating a string of fraudulent checks that were being cashed at area casinos. The fake checks appeared to be from construction companies, landscaping companies, and even stimulus checks from the US Treasury.

Throughout the investigation, detectives started seeing elements and methodology similar to a case in 2020 wherein Salas-Suarez was arrested on dozens of counts of uttering fictitious notes. Detectives noticed the fraudulent checks began circulating in 2021 months after Salas-Suarez was sentenced to Diversion Court.

With information and assistance from Hobey’s Casino, Tamarack Casino, and the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino detectives determined one fraud lab was responsible for printing duplicate copies of fraudulent checks, and those checks were cashed on the same day at different locations. This occurred multiple times in the region.

In partnership with the Regional Crime Suppression Unit (RCSU) and the Nevada Parole and Probation Division, WCSO Financial Crimes Detectives located and confiscated printers, computers, scanners, stolen mail, check stock, fraudulent checks, and more items consistent with a financial forgery lab from a room at Salas-Suarez’s residence on July 8, 2021.

Salas-Suarez is booked on ten felony counts: one of Establishing or Possessing a Financial Forgery Laboratory with the Intent to Commit any Unlawful Act; two counts of Making, Uttering or Possessing with Intent to Utter Fictitious Bill, Note or Check;  two counts of Obtaining Money, Property, Rent or Labor by False Pretenses; two counts of Grand Larceny Valued at $1,200 - <$5,000; and three counts of Violation of Probation/Condition of a Suspended Sentence.

This is an ongoing investigation. More charges may be expected from other regional agencies.

fraud-lab-Brian-Salas-Suarez.jpg

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.

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