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SCLC official arrested for cashing multiple counterfeit money orders

The man who started a Screven County division of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference earlier this year was arrested Friday and accused of trying to cash $3,600 in counterfeit money orders at Moats IGA.
Bobby Lee Johnson Jr., 29, of Captola Road in Sylvania, was charged with four counts of forgery, said Sylvania Police Lt. Tony Taylor. Johnson was on probation for previous charges, the detective said.
Johnson, who started a new division of the SCLC in Screven County in January, recently had been promoted to vice president of the Savannah Coastal Chapter of the human rights organization.
Taylor said Johnson cashed two counterfeit U.S. Postal Service money orders, each for $850, at Moats on April 28. The checks were dated April 9. On Friday, Johnson tried to cash two more counterfeit money orders, each for $950, Taylor said.
“He came back to do two more,” Taylor said. “We caught him in the act of trying to cash them and arrested him.”
Johnson was on probation for earlier charges. He was sentenced in Screven County in December 2001 to 10 years probation for deposit account fraud, financial transaction card fraud and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. He was sentenced in Richmond County in December 2007 for five years probation for theft by receiving.
Carl Gilliard, president of the Savannah chapter of the SCLC, could not be reached immediately for comment. Maurice Searcy, direct action coordinator for the Savannah SCLC, said the charges were a mistake, but declined to comment further. “It’s just a misunderstanding,” Searcy said.
Johnson was in the Screven County jail and could not be reached for comment.
When the new chapter of the SCLC was formed in January, Johnson said he was partly spurred by President Obama’s call to service. He said the organization would focus on conflict resolution, youth development and economic development.
One of the group’s first goals was to create a conflict resolution program based on the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he said at the time. A judge could sentence offenders to go through the 40-hour program as an alternative form of sentencing.
Since the group was formed earlier this year, Johnson had organized meetings in the community to discuss such topics as a murder at the Space Ship Lounge in Sylvania. He also was on hand when residents of Oliver fought to keep open the Oliver Post Office. And he spoke before the Screven County commission about the group’s goals.
He advertised a summer camp the SCLC is holding in Savannah, saying children from Screven County could meet at a central drop-off site and get rides to the daily activities.
The SCLC traces its roots to civil rights movement, when Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. The group’s mission statement: “The SCLS is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, inter-faith, advocacy organization that is committed to non-violent action to achieve social, economic and political justice.”