Billings man sentenced to prison for bad check scheme, illegal possession of firearm

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BILLINGS — A Billings man who admitted to defrauding local businesses by passing stolen and forged checks and to illegally possessing a firearm was sentenced today to five years and five months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Carl Mark Madden, 47, pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and felon in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters also ordered $7,536 restitution.

The government alleged in court documents that Madden was involved in a scheme to defraud local businesses by passing stolen and forged checks throughout the Billings community. Madden used the identification of multiple victims and forged the signatures of real people so he could pass the checks. Madden was recorded on surveillance video at Shipton’s Big R East forging the signature of a victim on a check. Madden confessed the scheme to law enforcement on Nov. 17, 2020. Prior to the confession, a Billings Police Department officer saw Madden walking down State Avenue and asked if Madden would voluntarily go with him to police headquarters for questioning about the scheme. Madden agreed and during a safety pat down, the officer found drug paraphernalia. Madden consented to a search of a briefcase he was carrying, and the officer found a loaded .45-caliber pistol that had been reported stolen. Madden later admitted to buying the gun from an associate. Madden was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of felony convictions in South Carolina.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin M. Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Billings Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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