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Two men facing charges in suspected “Operation Homeless” scheme in Bozeman

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Posted at 3:56 PM, Aug 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-03 17:56:12-04

BOZEMAN — Two men already in custody as suspects in a scheme that uses homeless people to cash bad checks are facing additional charges in Gallatin County for the same alleged crime.

Stanford Wilvin Lightfoot, 31, and 27-year-old Decoriss Darnell Smith, both of Georgia, are facing multiple charges, accused of persuading homeless people to cash fraudulent checks for them—a nationwide scheme law enforcement has called “Operation Homeless.”

Court documents say on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, a man contacted Bozeman Police to report he was the victim of an attempted abduction the day before. The man said four other men in an SUV wanted him to change his clothes and cash checks for them in exchange for money, which the man refused to do.

Police eventually identified the suspect vehicle and learned that it had been located by Livingston Police, who arrested Lightfoot and Smith in connection with another illegal check cashing scheme in Park County. A third suspect reportedly fled on foot. Lightfoot and Smith were arrested and remain in custody.

According to court documents, during the investigation, Bozeman Police identified and detained a transient suspect who had been reported as cashing fraudulent checks in Bozeman on July 18. Officers showed him images of Lightfoot and Smith. The suspect allegedly confirmed Lightfoot and Smith had recruited him for the scheme.

The transient man had reportedly cashed fraudulent checks in Bozeman totaling more than $12,000. Court documents say the total from currently reported cases involving Lightfoot, Smith, and the third suspect is more than $40,000.

Lightfoot and Smith are facing additional felony charges in Gallatin County that include theft, issuing a bad check, deceptive practices, money laundering, and forgery. Theft charges are pending for the suspect who identified the two men. The third suspect is not in custody.

Lightfoot is being held at the Park County Detention Center, and Smith is in custody at the Broadwater County Detention Facility.