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The Villages
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Citizens First teller helps nab suspect with fraudulent Villages Health check

Don Merchant

A Citizens First Bank teller helped nabbed a suspect who was trying to cash a fraudulent check from The Villages Health.

The teller was working Wednesday morning at the bank’s drive-thru facility at Lake Sumter Landing when 28-year-old Don Elliott Merchant of Ocala attempted to cash a $1,976 check which appeared to be from The Villages Health, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. The teller had received an alert that the same man had attempted to cash the same fraudulent check at the Citizens First Bank at Spanish Plaines. In a surveillance image captured at the Spanish Plaines branch, Merchant had been wearing an American flag mask. When deputies arrived at the Lake Sumter Landing bank on Old Camp Road, Merchant was standing at the drive-thru window. The American flag mask was in his pocket.

He was arrested on two counts of fraud and booked at the Sumter County Detention Center on $4,000 bond.

Merchant, who has a long history of arrests, was arrested twice in one month in 2019 when was caught driving on a suspended license.

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