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PEORIA — A federal judge in Peoria has sentenced an Urbana woman to prison for her role in a counterfeit-check scheme that resulted in the loss of more than $100,000.

U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced Stephanie Lemons, 43, of the 1200 block of South Vine Street to 18 months in prison.

She was ordered to turn herself in March 2.

Lemons pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and 19 counts of fraud for activity that she and co-defendant Tommie Slayton of Champaign engaged in during 2018.

Slayton, 35, is expected to plead guilty in December before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mihm.

A release from the U.S. attorney’s office said that Lemons and Slayton were charged with conspiring together and with others to engage in a scheme to pass more than 120 counterfeit checks from July through December 2018.

The fake checks were presented at Walmart stores in Champaign and Bloomington, as well as at Heartland Bank of Champaign.

At Wednesday’s sentencing, Shadid found that Lemons bought specialized equipment, including a printer, paper and ink, designed to print payroll checks, as an investment in the “infrastructure of her enterprise” to defraud others.

Lemons was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson.

The case was investigated by the FDIC Office of Inspector General and the Champaign and Urbana police departments, in cooperation with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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