Forged Payroll Checks Cost Businesses Thousands - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/17/04-Henderson

Forged Payroll Checks Cost Businesses Thousands

Randy Shick is the owner of Cheap Tobacco & Check Cashing. During the Thanksgiving weekend, he had more than a dozen checks returned because they were counterfeit. Three more bogus checks came in yesterday, and one more today.

Shick has lost more than $12,000 total on 17 bogus checks, written out to five different names from five local companies, including Verizon, AT&T Broadband, and Blockbuster.

Shick says, before this happened, he was already taking precautions by questioning unfamiliar customers. Nevertheless, he says, the fake ones would have fooled anyone.

"She actually came in a Blockbuster uniform and had a Blockbuster name tag on with her name on it," he said. "And she had an identification with a Texas drivers license and her Social Security card."

Shick says he even checked with the bank to make sure the check used a valid account number. And sure enough, it did.

"So what more can you do?" Shick said. "Other than that, there is nothing."

Another Henderson business that police say has also been a victim of several bogus checks is the James Exxon station on Highway 64. The owner says he's lost about $3,000.

"It's just not a person sitting at home trying it out, seeing how they can get away with it," Detective Craig Sweeney of the Henderson Police Department said. "It's a ring. It's not just this local area, but it's involving the Dallas Metroplex area also."

Sweeney says the holiday season is an easy time for counterfeiters to get away with their crimes because stores are usually too busy to check for proper I.D. Falling victim this time of year makes it difficult for a small business owner.

"This comes along and pretty much took everything that we have," Shick said. "Christmas is on us, and we still have children."

Detectives do have leads on this case. Police in Longview have confiscated a computer that was left at a motel. They found files on it that are linked to the fake checks cashed in Henderson. Police are still investigating.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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