7 On Your Side: Beware bogus check ring!

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - Henderson police say in less than a week, a bogus check ring has passed more than 100 checks at East Texas businesses, taking them for more than $80,000.

One check cashed after the other, and they are all worthless. Surveillance video from James Exxon shows thieves walking off with thousands of dollars.

"With this amount in such a short amount of time, I have never seen it like this before," said Lieutenant Craig Sweeney, with Henderson CID.

Sweeney says the photocopied checks were cashed last Wednesday and Thursday at James Exxon and Cheap Tobacco in Henderson. The culprits, police say, were Hispanic males dressed like construction workers.

"They came in dressed the part; like the hard hats [and] name badges," said Sweeney. "Now, whether or not the name badges said the company name or not, I don't know yet, but they looked the part."

The checks looked the part so much that they were drawn on well-known businesses in Henderson.

"West Fraser. This company bought out International Paper here in Henderson, so it wasn't unusual for these checks to come in," explained Sweeney. "They've cashed these checks before. The biggest problem is we're not getting ID."

Aften George's mother works at Cheap Tobacco, and she was at the store when the thieves hit.

"I started to get a bad feeling that something was wrong," said George. "Well, I didn't realize it. Mom just kept giving them money and they just kept shoving checks in her face and I didn't like the way they were doing it."

The checks cashed at both stores were written for $750 to $800 each. All with the same serial numbers. It's a huge red flag.

"Each check has got a serial number and no two checks have the same," said Sweeney.

Citizens National Bank South was the last hit target. On Monday police say thieves cashed 65 fraudulent checks, totaling more than $27,000 in just 30 minutes.

"The names that we've seen on the checks from each place, if they're not all identical, we see a lot of the same names from each location," said Sweeney. "It's definitely a crew and a ring doing it."

They are still out there and able to write checks no one should cash.

Police say they've verified the names on the checks with the names of employees at the local companies where the checks were drawn. But, so far none of the names match. If you have any information on this crime call Henderson police.

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