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Check Fraud

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NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | November 25, 1997
A 50-year-old Baltimore County man was arrested by federal agents yesterday and charged with check fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.Tyrone H. Devillasee, of the 3400 block of Vargis Circle in the Hebbville area was arrested about 12: 30 p.m. after a meeting with an undercover FBI agent in Jessup, federal authorities announced yesterday.At the meeting, Devillasee allegedly made arrangements to withdraw $105,000 in cash from a Signet Bank account that had received two wire transfers from California totaling $165,000, according to the FBI and Lynne A. Battaglia, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.
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NEWS
By Nicole Fuller | nicole.fuller@baltsun.com | February 24, 2010
The developer of the state's largest slots parlor has filed suit against the Anne Arundel County Board of Supervisors of Elections, saying the board failed to properly check for fraud and other irregularities in the signatures submitted to gain a ballot referendum on slots at Arundel Mills mall. In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, PPE Casino Resorts Maryland LLC, the parent company of Baltimore-based Cordish Cos., contended that the elections board committed "flagrant failures" in its continuing task of certifying the signatures collected and asked for an injunction to stop the process.
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NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,SUN STAFF | April 12, 1997
The FBI's white-collar crimes squad is accustomed to nabbing accountants who cook their books and executives who skim from their company's accounts.But increasingly, agents find themselves dealing with a different kind of white-collar criminal: organized gangs that see the opportunity for easy money in check fraud.Using high-tech equipment, the gangs produce high-quality counterfeit checks that are hard for even experienced eyes to detect."Right now we have probably a half-dozen cases going on organized groups," said Kevin L. Perkins, supervisory special agent for the FBI white-collar crimes unit in Baltimore, which includes 10 agents and four full-time financial analysts.
SPORTS
January 3, 2008
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Former Olympic champion sprinter Marion Jones said she has been punished enough and should not have to go to prison for lying about steroids and check fraud. In court papers filed Monday, Jones' attorneys asked a federal judge to give her probation when he sentences her next week. "She has been cast from American hero to national disgrace," the memo said. "The public scorn, from a nation that once adored her, and her fall from grace have been severe punishments." Jones admitted in court in October that she lied to federal investigators.
BUSINESS
By Bill Atkinson and Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF | September 1, 1996
It might seem like fighting a tank with a pea shooter, but bankers across the country are trying to solve an $800 million problem with a $2.50 product.In Texas, Nevada, Arizona and more than a dozen other states, bankers are fighting check fraud by equipping tellers with ink pads so they can affix the thumbprint of customers who aren't regular patrons of the bank to the backs of checks they cash.Maryland bankers are considering the strategy, but haven't decided if they like it.The idea has drawn remarkable interest because banks are losing millions each year to organized crime and gang members who steal checks or duplicate payroll checks and then cash them.
BUSINESS
By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | January 2, 2001
Banks are still losing ground in their continuing battle against check fraud. A recent survey by the American Bankers Association showed that check-fraud losses rose to $679 million in 1999, up 32 percent from 1997, the last time the biennial study of nearly 600 banks was done. Forgery was listed as the most common type of check fraud, followed by bounced checks that customers never cover. Counterfeit checks ranked third. Meanwhile, technology - which often helps banks catch culprits - also makes producing counterfeit checks and signatures easier than ever.
SPORTS
January 3, 2008
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Former Olympic champion sprinter Marion Jones said she has been punished enough and should not have to go to prison for lying about steroids and check fraud. In court papers filed Monday, Jones' attorneys asked a federal judge to give her probation when he sentences her next week. "She has been cast from American hero to national disgrace," the memo said. "The public scorn, from a nation that once adored her, and her fall from grace have been severe punishments." Jones admitted in court in October that she lied to federal investigators.
NEWS
By Dan Thanh Dang and Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF | March 24, 1997
Driver's license and thumbprint, please.That's what check cashers will have to hand over next month at all branches of First Union National Bank, unless they have an account with the bank.Starting April 7, customers without accounts must place a thumbprint on checks as part of the new Thumbs-Up Identification Program at First Union. The bank is believed to be the first in Maryland to use such a program to prevent check fraud.First Union officials hope the program will help save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by giving police another way to identify bad-check perpetrators.
BUSINESS
By David Colker and David Colker,Los Angeles Times | May 29, 2007
Talk about money laundering. A check made out to person A is bathed in a chemical available at any hardware store. In just a few minutes it's blank again and made out to person B - who is a thief. This process, which has been around for decades, is known as "check washing" among con men, and in an era of high-tech crimes it seems almost quaint. Except that it's back. Along with other check crimes. "What we are hearing is that it's a backlash after so much effort made by banks to boost security on their Web sites," said Will Wade, technology editor for trade journal American Banker.
NEWS
June 23, 1994
County narcotics detectives arrested a 19-year-old Severn man and a 22-year-old woman Tuesday morning after a raid on the man's house in the 8300 block of Deer Run Court during which police said they seized 147 grams of crack cocaine.Ricco Medley of the Deer Run Court address and Estella Patrice Jones of the 1900 block of Bastille Place in Severn were charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, police said.Using a search warrant, members of the Western District tactical narcotics team and special operations squad went to the house at 10 a.m., police said.
BUSINESS
By David Colker and David Colker,Los Angeles Times | May 29, 2007
Talk about money laundering. A check made out to person A is bathed in a chemical available at any hardware store. In just a few minutes it's blank again and made out to person B - who is a thief. This process, which has been around for decades, is known as "check washing" among con men, and in an era of high-tech crimes it seems almost quaint. Except that it's back. Along with other check crimes. "What we are hearing is that it's a backlash after so much effort made by banks to boost security on their Web sites," said Will Wade, technology editor for trade journal American Banker.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | November 29, 2006
The journal Science must intensify its screening process to weed out fraudulent studies, an independent panel said yesterday after investigating how the journal published two high-profile stem cell studies that turned out to be bogus. The report recommended that Science establish a system to red flag studies that claim major breakthroughs in high-visibility fields - such as climate change and human health - that could influence public policy. The bar should also be raised if the authors stand to gain financially from a publication in Science, the panel concluded.
NEWS
By MATTHEW DOLAN | January 11, 2006
A counterfeit check ring recruited hundreds of people, including university students, to set up bank accounts in at least two states, deposit doctored checks and withdraw the ill-gotten funds, according to a federal indictment unsealed yesterday. Law enforcement officials said a laptop computer found in a suspect's home contained more than $15 million in counterfeit business checks. More than 500 people were involved in the scheme, according to the grand jury indictment Only four people were named in the five-count indictment -- Binica Nicole Brooks, 27, of Towson; Barry Elijah Davis, 37, of Baltimore; Kendena Aisha Lee, 26, of Baltimore; and Benjamin Steven Davis, 38, of Baltimore.
NEWS
June 2, 2005
BALTIMORE $45,050 spent first day of gun buyback program At 9 a.m. yesterday, the city's Board of Estimates approved spending $100,000 on the Police Department's gun buyback program. Nine hours later, the police had spent $45,050 to buy 427 guns, many which are the types used in violent acts throughout Baltimore, police said. "We think it was a very successful" first day, said Deputy Police Commissioner Marcus Brown. Brown said the weapons purchased yesterday included a Mac-10 assault rifle, an Uzi and a semi-automatic Ruger handgun.
NEWS
By Ryan Davis and Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF | June 19, 2004
The victims included an embezzler, a welfare defrauder and a drunken driver. To fulfill the obligations of their sentences, they sent restitution and other court-ordered payments to the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, where Tiffany Rochelle McCallum and Katrice Lashawn Lloyd worked as temporary employees processing the checks and money orders. But federal investigators allege the two women - acting separately and at different times - made victims of the convicted criminals.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | January 24, 2004
Two top legislators got an earful yesterday about the problem of counterfeit checks from law enforcement officials, the banking industry and retailers who urged, among other things, stiffer penalties for forgers. "Take it right toward the kingpin by making it such a high risk to them that it's not worth it," said Al Banthem, an official with Mars Supermarkets. One fraud investigator compared the forgers' network to that of organized crime. In response, state Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, a Charles County Democrat and chairman of the Finance Committee, organized a group to develop ways to fight bogus checks.
NEWS
May 13, 1991
Racial insensitivity is always distasteful, but especially when it serves no real purpose. Consider the ludicrous practice of coding racial identification on checks written at retail stores. Until customers complained, Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, Sears Roebuck and Safeway Stores required clerks to identify and code a shopper's race on personal checks. The merchants, who have since discontinued the practice, claim the information was "solely for identification in the event that the check does not clear."
NEWS
By Mary Harris | March 6, 1992
PEOPLE tend to take their driver's licenses for granted, but in recent weeks Marylanders have discovered how easily that little laminated card can be corrupted.As a result of the Dontay Carter case, the heat has been turned up on the state police and the Motor Vehicle Administration, which issued Mr. Carter a duplicate driver's license in the name of the man he is charged with killing. The MVA felt the lash of the General Assembly earlier this week when a Senate committee penalized top officials by voting to cut their pay.For the past nine years, I have worked in the banking business as checking accounts coordinator for a large Maryland financial institution.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | November 23, 2003
Baltimore County fraud investigator Debby Chenoweth had seen the pattern before - a familiar cluster of crimes that rang a bell. First, the rash of stolen driver's licenses, student IDs and birth certificates starting more than a year ago. Then, the wave of bad checks papered across Central Maryland, bearing the names of unwitting victims whose identities had been used. And, eventually, reports of businesses swindled by the counterfeit checks. The signs all pointed to Hugh Maurice Allen Wade - again.
BUSINESS
By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | January 2, 2001
Banks are still losing ground in their continuing battle against check fraud. A recent survey by the American Bankers Association showed that check-fraud losses rose to $679 million in 1999, up 32 percent from 1997, the last time the biennial study of nearly 600 banks was done. Forgery was listed as the most common type of check fraud, followed by bounced checks that customers never cover. Counterfeit checks ranked third. Meanwhile, technology - which often helps banks catch culprits - also makes producing counterfeit checks and signatures easier than ever.
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