County checks used in scam
September 19, 2018
The Sweetwater County Treasurer’s Office is the target of a scam involving fraudulent checks sent to people across the country.
As of Tuesday, six checks have been cashed, totaling $15,400. The checks use a Bank of the West account used by the treasurer’s office and features the bank’s routing number too. However, the county is already moving all of its accounts to Commerce Bank. County treasurer Robb Slaughter said his office hadn’t issued checks using that account since Sept. 4, with the fraudulent checks being issued after that date. Slaughter said the checks look official and are delivered using Fedex, but feature a logo pulled from the county’s website and a signature that isn’t his. The checks also come with instructions for the person the check is made out for to send a copy of their bank statement once the check is cashed, giving the people sending the fraudulent checks access to the recipient’s bank information.
“The checks look realistic,” Slaughter said.
He said calls regarding the checks started coming in Thursday. One call, coming from a man living in Wisconsin, was to verify a check he had received from the county, amounting to $3,450. After a fourth call was made to the treasurer’s office about the checks, Slaughter said he contacted Bank of the West and the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.
By Friday, four similar checks were cleared in Texas, in amounts varying between $1,950 and $3,450.
On Tuesday, two additional checks cleared. Slaughter said Bank of the West is reimbursing the county on any amounts lost due to the scam. He said the sheriff’s office has also dedicated a detective to investigating the checks. For the long-serving county treasurer, he admits the situation is a first for him.
“It’s something we’ve never seen before,” Slaughter said.