Larry’s Laws of Larceny- Law 6: You Can’t Always Tell a Phony Document by its Looks

Larry Beebe, CPA

When is a check real and when is it a phony? Sophisticated copying and printing techniques can create fake documents that can fool the experts.

A plan employee, check in hand, goes inside a liquor store to cash his paycheck. A man outside the store offers him $100 to “borrow” his paycheck. Within minutes the crook has a perfect duplicate of the check. On Saturday morning the crooks, armed with phony copies of the checks, attempt to cash the checks at branches of the bank the check was drawn on. All amounts are kept under $1,000.00 to avoid suspicion. It works until a teller becomes suspicious and the fraud ends as quickly as it started.

A positive pay system employed by the plan prevents this form of theft. The bank is notified of the check number, payee and amount of all checks drawn. When the thief try’s to cash a fraudulent check the scheme ends immediately.

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