Scammers steal $220,000 from Town of White Castle through fraudulent checks; Mayor says most of money has been returned
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials in the Town of White Castle are breathing a little sigh of relief.
Thieves somehow got a hold of the town’s banking information and cashed in $220,000 through fake checks a few months ago. But now some of that money has reportedly been returned.
The entrance sign to White Castle says, ‘A Town of Champions.’ But the mayor says some scammers tried to pull a fast one on them.
“We realized that someone had stolen our mail, and inside that mail was vendor checks,” said Town of White Castle Mayor John Morris.
Below are some copies of the fraudulent checks that were used to steal money from the Town of White Castle’s treasury account back in February.
In the picture above, the copy of the check at the top is an actual town check signed by Mayor John Morris. The rest have different names and addresses to people across the country and with a different signature than the Mayor’s.
“If you notice, the check numbers are way out of line of our check numbers,” said Mayor Morris.
The mayor says most of the fake checks were cashed, with about $220,000 stolen directly from the town.
“Basically, it’s just a complex scheme. The scheme was they basically stole the mail, copied the checks, with the routing numbers and account number, put it on new checks with false numbers, fake signatures, cashed it at multiple banks, some in New Orleans, some in North Carolina,” said Mayor Morris.
When the bank the town uses told Mayor Morris that the town’s treasury account was overdrawn, the mayor said that was impossible. And that’s when he called law enforcement to get involved.
“I turned everything over to the Attorney General’s Office, due to most of these checks that were cashed were outside the state of Louisiana,” said Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi.
Most of that money has since been returned to the Town of White Castle.
But Morris says they’re still missing about $80,000.
“After we signed affidavits, in regard to saying it wasn’t our signatures, then the FDIC insurance kicked in, and they coordinated with other banks to return the money,” said Morris.
Sheriff Stassi believes this was an organized crime effort outside of the jurisdiction of Iberville Parish.
“You need to realize if somebody has got a hold of some fake checks, or something, this could’ve gone wrong. And you just can’t sit on that, you’ve got to move on it quickly because dollars are at stake as time passes,” said Sheriff Stassi.
“We’re clear, and we’re just waiting for the investigation to finalize. And once it’s finalized and those people and arrested and charged to the full extent of the law, that will make us real happy in the Town of White Castle,” said Mayor Morris.
WAFB reached out to a spokesman with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office about this case. They said, “We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
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