PD hunts check scammers

Published 2:18 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
The Brewton Police Department, with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is searching for a group of individuals who recently passed a series of counterfeit checks to area banks and businesses.
Though the persons responsible were likely passing through the Brewton and East Brewton area, it is believed they had ties to someone local, Lovelace said.
The people who passed the bad checks fit the descriptions of immigrant workers, he added.
The counterfeit check scam involved checks that were apparently copied -- using computer technology -- from the payroll checks of several well-known area employers.
In several cases, the people who cashed them entered the bank or business that was victimized as a group, looking as if they were workers who had just been paid, Lovelace said.
The amount of bad checks that were passed here totals "in the thousands," Lovelace said.
The FBI has become involved because the copying of the checks is viewed as counterfeiting, one of the crimes that comes under that agency's purview.
The scam seems to have come to an end, Lovelace said. After it had been carried out at several places around the area, the check scammers' work abruptly halted.
But the scam points out the need for banks and businesses cashing large checks to obtain proper identification from those presenting them, Lovelace said.
Those responsible for the scam will face charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument, Lovelace said.
Anyone with information in the case can call the Brewton Police Department at 867-3212.