Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Postal clerk foils bad check writer

USPS News Link reports that Retail Associate Jim Quintana (shown here) of the Dana Point, CA, Capistrano Beach Station became suspicious when a man asked for five rolls of 39-cent stamps.

“When he opened his checkbook, I noticed his check register indicated he had only written checks to the Postal Service and all in the amount of $195 — the amount of five 100-stamp coils,” said Quintana. “I thought that was pretty strange.”

Quintana reminded him that rates were changing soon and asked if he needed so many stamps of that denomination. The man nodded.

When the man left, Quintana relayed his suspicions to Dana Point Postmaster Angie Allum. After checking with the bank, they learned the suspect had recently written 20 non-sufficient funds checks to local Post Offices, each for $195. They alerted surrounding Post Offices.

Later, the man appeared at San Clemente Post Office. Employees recognized him from his description and called the police and the Postal Inspection Service. He was arrested.

The suspect later confessed to Inspectors he had ties to an organized check-fraud ring in Los Angeles. He pled guilty in May, was sentenced 13 months in state prison and ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Postal Service.

Chief Postal Inspector Alexander Lazaroff lauded Quintana and other employees for their quick action.

Inspectors in the Los Angeles area have arrested 16 suspects related to more than $257,000 worth of bad checks this fiscal year.

For some tips on protecting YOURSELF from getting a bad check, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM