It turns out that stealing from City Hall isn’t all that easy, but someone has been trying anyway.
In recent weeks, Bank of America has rejected nine counterfeit checks made out to different individuals attempting to cumulatively withdraw $9,997.93 from the city’s bank account, police and city officials say.
The phony payroll checks with the city’s legitimate account and bank routing number have been deposited in New York City banks made out in the names of three different individuals, but the bank rejected all of the individual transactions, city Treasurer Laura Parisi said on Monday, March 11.
Detective Larry Bammer will investigate the incident, said police Sgt. Louis Callus, adding that financial fraud involving identity theft is proliferating.
Last June, a similar scam involving the city’s account was successful at siphoning off funds illegally, but the problem was detected and the bank reimbursed the city for the fraudulent withdrawals, Parisi said.
This time, one of the city’s safety measures, providing its banker with payroll names and the identities of vendors receiving checks, helped screen out the phony drafts, Parisi said. “I’m thrilled that the system worked,” she said.
The phony checks were not written on the city’s official safety checks, which include anti-counterfeit measures such as watermarks. “The checks were so obviously fraudulent to me,” said Parisi, adding that the city’s check stock is all accounted for.