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Lakeside's 'Homer Bandit' Sentencing Delayed for Passing Counterfeit Checks

After pleading guilty to nine felony charges, he is expected to be sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.

Updated May 12 @ 4 p.m.

Sentencing was rescheduled today to June 20 for a Lakeside man dubbed the "" for passing counterfeit checks at a number of home improvement stores in San Diego and Riverside counties.

Joel Michael Booth, 39, pleaded guilty to nine felony charges, including multiple counts of unlawful use of someone's personal identifying information. He is expected to be sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.

Booth was arrested March 10, 2011, as he was leaving the store in Santee, where he was trying to return items bought at a Ross store in La Quinta. Authorities said their investigation began five months earlier when they began comparing similar cases of counterfeit checks being passed at stores throughout San Diego County.

Authorities gave the suspect in their case the "Homer Bandit" moniker after learning he was committing similar crimes at home improvement stores in Riverside County. In all, more than 30 businesses were targeted and Booth made thousands of dollars off the scam, according to authorities.

Booth manufactured checks using the account information stolen from mail boxes and U.S. Postal Service drop boxes. He also made matching counterfeit identifications cards to aid in his crimes, authorities said.

-City News Service

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