Investigators bust 6-year check fraud scheme - | WBTV Charlotte

Investigators bust 6-year check fraud scheme


It operated for six years, cheated several banks and credit unions, and netted crooks $1M.

Now, it's over.

Investigators say they broke up the check fraud scheme that included 27 defendants who operated in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell, and Cabarrus counties.

Many of the defendants made their first appearance Friday afternoon in Federal Court in Charlotte.

Here is know the scheme worked:

Prosecutors say starting in December 2007, the defendants deposited worthless checks into near empty or empty accounts to trick banks into crediting accounts with funds. They allegedly used ATM withdrawals to steal as much cash as much possible before banks realized what was happening and did proper accounting.

The prosecutor told the judge that as part of this check fraud scheme, people who had checking accounts sold checks to members of the scheme, or thieves broke into vehicles and stole check books.

Once they obtained checks, the defendants used a straw checking account that had an ATM card and PIN number.

Investigators say the defendants wrote checks, deposited them into straw accounts, and within 24 hours - they did withdrawals or bought an item and got cash back.

Prosecutors say the culprits also deposited empty envelopes at ATM's for cash. It would take 3-to-5 days for banks to catch up.

All defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and each has other individual charges.

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