GILES COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Cookeville woman is behind bars in Giles County. She is charged with conspiracy to commit theft and forgery.
Investigators say she’s part of a crime syndicate that was enlisting the homeless to commit crimes around middle Tennessee.
Investigators tell News 2, the group recruited homeless people, many around the McDonalds on Broadway near downtown.
But before they had them pass bogus bills or cash fraudulent checks, the syndicate took them to stores, bought them clothes, cleaned them up, even made them shave.
Lt. Shane Hunter of the Giles County Sheriff’s Department told News 2 one of the homeless men reported being taken to the Wendy’s in Williamson County where they made him shave.
Detectives say the idea was to use homeless people who didn’t look homeless. They also needed to have legitimate ID’s. That way the authorities would come after the homeless people instead of the syndicate members.
Thanks to News 2 viewers, a woman seen with the syndicate was identified, arrested, and brought to the Giles County Jail Friday afternoon.
That’s where News 2 cameras were waiting for them.
Andy Cordan: “Hi Ms. Bullard. How are you?”
Marcia Bullard: “Why am I on channel news?”
Cordan: “Because news 2 viewers actually identified you. That is why you are arrested what do you think of that?”
The 21-year-old is now charged with conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to commit forgery.
While being walked in handcuffs to the jail, Bullard said this: “I’m getting out and going into the building, but I didn’t do anything.”
Cordan: “Ms. Bullard they tell us that you use to use homeless people and commit crimes with them, why?”
Bullard: “I didn’t know what the %$$$ they were doing.”
Detectives say Bullard has been seen multiple times with members of a crime syndicate that reportedly uses Nashville homeless people to cash thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks across middle Tennessee.
Cordan: “You didn’t know the homeless people were writing bad checks?”
Bullard: “Homeless people writing bad checks?”
Bullard: “What kind of sense does that make sir?”
Cordan: “It makes a lot of sense if you think about it.”
Cordan: “Why would you use homeless people?”
Bullard: “Why wouldn’t you use homeless people. That doesn’t make sense.”
Detectives show News 2 multiple videos that show Bullard with one of the ring leaders, Dejean Washington, who is now behind bars in Giles County for many felonies associated with this crime spree. His bond is now $100,000.
Cordan: “So Ms. Bullard, you are telling me you knew nothing about the homeless people?”
Bullard: “%$* No, I didn’t.”
Detectives also have video showing Bullard in the back seat of a rental car with other syndicate members.
Detectives say they were driving to Giles County. The video was shot by homeless man Charles Slaughter who admits to cashing one of the phony checks at a Giles County bank.
He told News 2 he shot the video because he was apprehensive about the intentions of the syndicate.
Cordan to Bullard: “You weren’t in the back seat with homeless people?”
Bullard: “No I was not.”
Cordan: “You didn’t go to Nashville and clean them up and send them on a crime spree?”
While Bullard can be positively identified in all of the videos, she still denies her involvement.
Detective Shane Hunter says it is definitely her right down to the tattoos on her body.
Shane Hunter says “She is and through News 2’s help, we got numerous tips about the female.”
The third member of the syndicate has now been identified as Joshua Buice. According to investigators, the 34-year-old is seen in Giles County surveillance footage collecting cash from Daniel Adams, another Nashville homeless man enlisted by the group to commit crimes.
Shane Hunter says “Every individual we have contacted that is homeless had a fear they would be disposed of after producing these counterfeit documents and proceeding back to Nashville.”
Before he was a wanted man in Giles County, investigators say Joshua Buice was arrested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the exact same crime using homeless in criminal enterprises. Detectives say he made bond in Pittsburgh and came to middle Tennessee.
If you have any information contact the Giles County Sheriff’s Office.