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Banks thwarts check scheme

January 26, 2001

Banks thwarts check scheme



Quick action Friday afternoon by Hagerstown Trust Company personnel working with Hagerstown City Police narrowly prevented a $68,000 check scheme from being successful.

Bank officials got suspicious and called police when a Hagerstown Trust account holder tried to cash a $68,000 check from a law firm in Decatur, Ga.

"Hagerstown Trust called the bank the check was drawn on and confirmed the money was in the account," said investigator Shawn Schultz. They then cashed the check.

But the police took things one step further, called the attorney's office in Georgia and learned the check was counterfeit before the woman left Hagerstown Trust, Schultz said.

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The account holder is a woman in her 80s who told police she was contacted by telephone and was told she had won that amount of money.

The woman was instructed to deposit the check in her account and withdraw a certain amount to pay the taxes on the winnings, Schultz said.

The caller told the woman he would stop by later and pick up the money, Schultz said.

Anyone getting similar telephone calls is advised to hang up right away without divulging any information.

Or, Schultz said, they could try to get a phone number of the person calling and then report that to police.

Anyone with information on the scheme is asked to call 301-790-3700.

- Marlo Barnhart

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