Gainesville police have arrested several people on fraud charges for cashing checks in lottery fraud schemes or similar scams. They say some of these so-called victims should know better.
Not everyone is being arrested.Â Authorities are looking at each individual case before making a decision.Â They are frustrated with people trying to cashÂ bogus checks.Â PoliceÂ say ignoranceÂ of the lawÂ is no excuse.
Tina Days is one of the lucky ones. She got a job over the internet and was told to put the checks into her account.Â Days says she was then instructed to withdrawÂ a percentage of the money, and send the remaining amountÂ back to her boss.Â But when she checked it out, she learned it was a fraud.
"I feel very fortunate because I would have had to come up with the money when it wasn't my fault," says Days. "I was just trying to find a part-time job."
Check cashing businesses are always on the lookout for funny money. Felt Davis at Cash-A-Check says he gets bogus checks at least once a day, sometimes even three or four times in a single day. Davis saysÂ most peopleÂ aren't as smart or as innocent as Days. He says many so-called victims are people who know the check they are passing is a fraud, but they still do it anyway.
"You get the check in your hand and you got the potential of 2500-3000 dollars, you want that money no matter what," says Davis. "You turn a good person into a bad one."
Detective Corporal Jorge Campos says people who pass a counterfeit check could face up to 5 years in prison if they are convicted. He says just because a check might look real, doesn't mean you can't be held liable in court.
"Your ability to determine whether it's legitimate doesn't stop there," says Campos. "You must consider the source that you got the check from and the circumstances in which you received the check."
Campos says there are two dead giveaways that may tip you off to a potential scam.Â The first is receiving a check for an amount above and beyond the original amount you asked for, or agreed to. The second if someone sends you a check and asksÂ you to cash it, take a percentage and ship the remaining amount back.
By Dan Breitwieser WCJB TV 20 News.
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