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Homeless man accused of forging money orders at South Florida post office

Dan Melindo Jr. altered thousands of dollars' worth of checks, feds say

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MIAMI – A homeless man is accused of forging money orders purchased from a Miami-Dade County post office.

Dan Melindo Jr., 34, was arrested Wednesday on charges of organized scheme to defraud and conspiracy to commit third-degree felony grand theft and forgery.

At the time of his arrest, Melindo was serving a six-month sentence at the Miami Federal Detention Center for violating terms of his supervised release.

Melindo was arrested in January 2011 by U.S. postal inspectors in Miami Beach after he presented altered money orders, an arrest warrant said. Melindo then deposited the orders into various Citibank bank accounts in Miami-Dade County and immediately withdrew the funds.

By April 2011, he pleaded guilty to forging 26 U.S. postal money orders. Each of the money orders was originally worth $100, but had been altered to say $900, resulting in $20,800 worth of checks, the warrant said.

Melindo was placed on supervised release for three years in June 2011 in connection with the case, the warrant said, and then fled from his probation officer shortly after his release from federal detention.

Melindo remained on the lam until September 2015, when he was arrested on shoplifting charges, authorities said. He was taken into federal custody in January and was given a six-month sentence a month later for violating the conditions of his supervised released.

Detectives believe that Melindo, who used the name "The Artist," altered 843 money orders between June 2013 and August 2014.

The checks had a face value of $83,436.10, but were altered to the amount of $727,850.90 and were deposited in various banks, the arrest warrant said.