SPRINGFIELD, MO -- If you think your bank account is theft-proof, think again. Dozens of victims whose accounts were compromised learned a valuable lesson, and they hope to help others avoid the same fate.
Mary Pearson is a small business owner. Her story started with a call from her bank. She said, "They said: did you write a check for $2400 and I said I absolutely did not." Mary immediately went to the bank to make sure no other bad checks had been written and filed a police report. She said, "My next thought was how in the world did they get that information, who is this person and why did they pinpoint us?"
Postal Inspectors say Pearson was one of 55 victims who had accounts compromised with more than $60,000 in losses. They say two suspects produced and cashed counterfeit checks. Inspector David Nitz said, "Take the information on the checks that were stolen and just create a new check based on that information." Inspectors identified some of the check cashers recruited as part of the ring.
Nitz said, "We were able to get one of the check cashers started working with them and that resulted in them doing recordings and phone calls and track their locations."
Pearson said she learned a valuable lesson. "Now, I go online daily to see what's gone through on a daily basis to see what has gone through the amount who it went to."
Nitz suggested all businesses follow a similar process. "If you are a business make sure your accounting department and make sure checks are being reconciled as soon as you are able."
Authorities arrested two people, but that's not enough for Pearson. She said, "I would almost like him to come work for me. He would clean toilets, and he would sweep out the warehouse and take out the trash and he would do all the menial jobs and get $1 a day. He would work off the $2,400."
The main suspect in the case was charged with mail fraud, false statements, counterfeiting and forgery. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
WFMY News 2