Check fraud and check forgery are common occurrences. All too often, the wrongdoer is an employee of the victim. Several methods are used to accomplish the theft:
1. The employee may steal a check that arrives in the employer’s incoming mail, forge the endorsement of the employer-payee and deposit the check into his own account. Bank tellers often are not properly trained to compare the name of the payee to the account into which a check is being deposited. Fraudulent check activities are often perpetrated using automated teller machines (ATMs).
2. The employee may steal his employer’s blank check, make it out to a fictitious payee and forge his employer’s signature on the front of the check then forge the fictitious payee’s endorsement on the back of the check and deposit the check into his own account (often an account opened by the dishonest employee in the name of the fictitious payee).
3. The employee may present a fraudulent invoice to an accounts payable clerk who then prepares a check that the employee takes, forges the endorsement of the payee, and deposits the check into his own bank account.
Outside of an employment context, individuals entrusted with conducting banking transactions for an elderly or mentally compromised parent or other adult may steal funds from the bank accounts of the unsuspecting adult via check forgery or other fraudulent activities.
Usually, by the time he or she is caught, the thief in these instances has spent or hidden the money he or she has stolen. Therefore, the victim’s recourse, if any, will be against the banks or credit unions that honored transactions involving forged checks or forged endorsements.
In some circumstances, banks are legally responsible for accepting forged and fraudulently-written checks. However, the law likewise imposes some responsibility upon employers and even disabled account holders to oversee their own banking.
In the event an individual or business discovers fraudulent activity involving bank account transactions, the account holder should promptly consult an attorney who is experienced in representing victims of such activity in claims against the thief and the banks that failed to prevent the fraud. Due to statutes of limitations, victims have a limited amount of time to pursue their legal remedies.
Whether the victim is an individual, a government agency or an employer, Michael Inscore has experience and is available to assist in seeking and obtaining compensation from banks, credit unions and the wrongdoers themselves for losses suffered due to check fraud and check forgeries.