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  1. #1
    kook-e is offline Junior Member
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    Question victim of counterfeit cashiers check scam

    What is the name of your state? Alaska

    I am in desperate need of some sound legal advice. I placed an ad in a Seattle newpaper to sell my vehicle. As part of the ad the newspaper placed it on their internet classifieds. I was contacted by an invividual who led me to believe he was in the Washington state area and asked to test drive the car. Prior to our weekend appointment he called to cancel saying his business required him to return to Greece but, without boring you with the details he sent me a cashiers check for $50,000. This included the purchase price of the vehicle plus an additional $15,000 for "shipping".

    When I received the check via DHL, I immediately took it to the manager of my bank. I showed him the check explained that someone from Greece had purchased the vehicle and would need the title immediately because they wanted to pick it up. I also explained that I needed $15,000 immediately to send the third party shipper.

    At this time I had approximately $6,000 in total deposits with the bank in my checking account. The manager directed me to pay off my vehicle loan of $19,000 with the proceeds of this cashiers check and then gave me $15,000 in cash to send Western Union to the shipper. The cashiers check was drawn on Bank of America at a Texas branch.

    Seventeen days later, yes seventeen, I was called in to a meeting with the bank managers and the FBI where they wanted all the details of how I came accross this counterfeit cahier's check!

    Now the bank is telling me that all the responsibility for this fraud falls with me. They immediately seized all my monies in the bank and frozen all accounts. They are suing me for the $41,000 they are out for the auto loan, the funds I forwarded to the shipper, plus other withdrawals.

    We are not wealthy people and cannot absorb this loss. We are looking a possible bankruptcy. I now realize how prevalent this scam is but, had never heard of anything like this previous to this fiasco.

    I believe that I acted prudently in this case especially when I personally brought it to the attention of the bank manager. After I explained that I was sending the money overseas, that I needed the cash immediately and was directed to apply this check to pay off my car loan (they sent the title out) that they now had as much knowlege as to the origin of the funds as I did and being in the business, had a fiduciary obligation to protect me as well as other "depositers". I also believe that because I did not have these funds available in my accounts they therefore were accepting this cashiers check as a valid instrument. This whole mess could have been avoided if they would have made a simple phone call to the issuing bank and cross checked the numbers and amounts. The time delay between acceping the check and notifing me that it was fraudulent was also extensive.

    Anyone, who has experience with this kind of specific banking laws that could assist me in coming up with a defence in this matter would be a god send.
  2. #2
    Veronica1228 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kook-e
    What is the name of your state? Alaska
    This whole mess could have been avoided if they would have made a simple phone call to the issuing bank and cross checked the numbers and amounts. The time delay between acceping the check and notifing me that it was fraudulent was also extensive.

    Anyone, who has experience with this kind of specific banking laws that could assist me in coming up with a defence in this matter would be a god send.
    The problem with this is that a lot of banks no longer offer the courtesy to other banks to verify checks. In other words, if your bank HAD called the issuing bank, there is a very, very good chance that the issuing bank would refuse to verify the check. Bank confidentiality laws have become stricter, and banks are following them much more closely than they used to.

    Unfortunately, the loss is yours because you accepted the check. Sorry.
  3. #3
    ENASNI is offline Senior Member
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    Thumbs down

    That is too bad, Greece huh? not Nigeria?
  4. #4
    kook-e is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica1228
    The problem with this is that a lot of banks no longer offer the courtesy to other banks to verify checks. In other words, if your bank HAD called the issuing bank, there is a very, very good chance that the issuing bank would refuse to verify the check. Bank confidentiality laws have become stricter, and banks are following them much more closely than they used to.

    Unfortunately, the loss is yours because you accepted the check. Sorry.
    Thank you for the quick reply. I don't know if you have a legal background but, wouldn't the bank be equally responsible since they accepted the check for payoff of the vehicle? What I am trying to point out is that I did not make a separate check for the payoff amount they simply deducted the amount from the proceeds of the check. Should they not be at least partially liable?
  5. #5
    kook-e is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENASNI
    That is too bad, Greece huh? not Nigeria?
    Since all of this has happened I have found several instances of this same scam originating from Nigeria. Matter of fact the FBI believe that the purpetrators of this scam are actually based in Nigeria. Go Figure...
  6. #6
    ENASNI is offline Senior Member
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    UH... yup...
    [url]http://forum.freeadvice.com/search.php?searchid=562721[/url]
  7. #7
    Veronica1228 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kook-e
    Thank you for the quick reply. I don't know if you have a legal background but, wouldn't the bank be equally responsible since they accepted the check for payoff of the vehicle? What I am trying to point out is that I did not make a separate check for the payoff amount they simply deducted the amount from the proceeds of the check. Should they not be at least partially liable?
    I do not have a law degree, but I do have one in Finance. As a Banking Officer, I work very closely with the Legal and Regulatory departments of my bank, so I am quite qualified to answer this question.

    The truth of the matter is that your bank accepted this check as a deposit. The proceeds of that deposit were then used to pay off your loan and wire funds somewhere else. Your bank cannot be held liable for accepting a deposit from you. They are in no way responsible for this.
  8. #8
    jpritchett81 is offline Member
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    $50,000 is a lot of money**************you didn't find anything at all in this whole transaction odd?
  9. #9
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    I'll be darn. You're the first one I've seen that actually fell for this ruse. It's been around for a few years.

    When I worked in banking (over 10 years ago) it was impressed on us that we were responsible for a transaction like this once the customer put the instrument into our hands and asked for our help (ie. professional opinion and guidance). The courts had ruled that we (banks and their employees) acted with "professional" or "superior" (not quite the right term) knowledge and that the customers had every right to rely on our opinion.

    Things may have changed with all the protections for financial institutions adopted during the last 15 years, but for the kind of $$$ you are talking about you need to do some serious research, or have at least a first consultation with an attorney who specializes in this type of law. Check your AK website for your state banking laws, possibly under Scty. of State's commerce section.
  10. #10
    Veronica1228 is offline Senior Member
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    Let me say this again, so that it is clear to everyone. Some may have worked at a bank over 10 years ago, but I worked for one TODAY.

    Your bank cannot be held liable for a check that you deposit into your account. Banks no longer verify checks for other banks. If you deposit a check into your account and it is returned for any reason; NSF, stop payment, closed account, fraud, etc., the loss is incurred by the depositor of the check. Not the bank. If you accept a bad check, you take the loss. This is considered the risk of doing business.

    Is this clear enough? I can translate into French, German, or Spanish if you'd like.
  11. #11
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    Fine, Veronica, And I'll translate it back out of "smartass"....do the research and see a lawyer who specializes in this type of law. My experience both in and out of the banking biz, is that they all deny responsibility for everything....but good lawyers get judgements against them every day.
    For that amount of money I'd be talking to a lawyer, NOT a banker.
  12. #12
    Veronica1228 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dallas702
    Fine, Veronica, And I'll translate it back out of "smartass"....do the research and see a lawyer who specializes in this type of law. My experience both in and out of the banking biz, is that they all deny responsibility for everything....but good lawyers get judgements against them every day.
    For that amount of money I'd be talking to a lawyer, NOT a banker.
    You disappoint me. Someone of your age and experience should be able to express themselves without swearing. I am much, much younger than you are, and I am able to do it. I suppose I just have a superior vocabulary.

    Do me a favor and perform a search on the word "Nigeria," and see what lawyers at this site have had to say about counterfeit cashier's checks.

    Here's a link to get you started.

    [url]http://forum.freeadvice.com/showthread.php?t=148191&highlight=nigeria[/url]
  13. #13
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    Not "superior vocabulary", but apparently a "superior" and condescending attitude.

    He's all yours. My advice stands.
  14. #14
    Veronica1228 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dallas702
    Not "superior vocabulary", but apparently a "superior" and condescending attitude.

    He's all yours. My advice stands.
    You know what? You're right. I have had a condescending attitude towards you. I suppose the reason is that I may know a little bit about a lot of things, but I know a lot about banking. It has been my career for the past 8 years. My hackles get raised when my expertise and knowledge get questioned. I'll have to work on that. Sorry.

    However, my response is still correct. (I know. I just can't let it go.)
  15. #15
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    ....and I shouldn't be so testy. I have been on Oxycontin and Percoset since a recent shoulder reconstruction....worst medication I've ever had to take....worse than morphine. I apologise.

    I wish someone would get to these scammers and rip their genitals off and feed them to the rats. That's not the drugs talking. I really do feel for people who lose money on these things, but it seems a little more common sense might set off alarms. That said, even smart people can be taken by those who never stop finding new ways to steal and cheat. If Nigeria didn't have so much oil (and, I'm not sure we actually get any here, but I'm pretty sure U.S. companies do), we should have put them on a "no commerce" list long ago. Heck, maybe we did, but their little thieves still get through.

    I hope there's a way this guy can get out of the debt without it costing other innocent people...but I don't see how. Maybe instead of stupid "bear in the backyard" stories, or how to put on sunblock, our news media should be spending lots more time warning people about these scams.

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