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Convicted Forger Faces New Federal Charges

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HAMMOND, Ind. (STMW) - An East Chicago man convicted in September of forgery is facing new charges of stealing from the government.

Christopher Spears was actually charged in the U.S. District Court in Hammond on Sept. 21, three days before a jury convicted him on three counts of fraud with identification documents and two other charges, but the new indictment was not unsealed until Friday.

The new indictment charges Spears and Randall McNeil, 29, of Dolton, Ill., with stealing public money. A complaint originally filed against McNeil claimed that after his Gary apartment was damaged by flooding, he received money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for housing expenses.

He was actually living on and off with Spears, according to the complaint, and Spears made fake receipts for McNeil to show that he was paying Spears $600 a month in rent, along with fake pay stubs to show he was paid $270 in income. FEMA ended up paying McNeil between $6,212 to $13,637, according the complaint.

It is unclear how much, if any, Spears received in the scheme.

The complaint said that police found out about the alleged scheme when they were investigating Spears in the other case, which claimed that he made fake documents such as firearm permits and income statements to sell to people.

Spears told police about his involvement with McNeil after he was arrested, according to the complaint.

Both men pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go on trial Nov. 29.

Spears’ sentencing for his first case is set for Dec. 16.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)