Forgery Ahead

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The term ”forgery” can be defined as an act of altering a genuine copy of something or making a facsimile with the intent to deceive. Forgery can be done to art, certificates, important documents and more commonly, checks. According to an article on Examiner.com, a Montgomery man had a talent for forging signatures on U.S. Treasury refund checks and refund anticipation loan checks. (Refund anticipation loan checks offer quick cash to taxpayers and are short-term loans, usually for 24 to 48 hours, secured by a taxpayer’s expected tax refund.) He also made copies of fictitious powers of attorney, which were then used to cash the checks.

The story states that the fraudster obtained 263 checks worth $606,781.34 over a 21 month period. The checks were written to different people, who had not authorized the man to cash them. His scheme involved creating fraudulent power of attorney documents in the names of the individuals on the checks. He then cashed the refund checks at a local store. (So no one questioned why so many people trusted this man as their power of attorney?)

The fraudster, who pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds and one count of passing U.S. Treasury checks with forged endorsements, faces 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $500,000. (He was obviously aware that the power of attorney documents were falsified and kept on cashing those checks with the intent to deceive his victims and pocket a boatload of money.)

In this situation, the fraudster made a lot of money in the short term by faking signatures. Because of his crime, he will be paying a dear price with jail time in the long term. The federal government is adamant about preventing fraudsters from victimizing taxpayers and continues to forge ahead, making steady progress with prosecuting forgery cases like this one.

 

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on the article titled, ”Montgomery Man Pleads Guilty to Cashing Fraudulent Tax Refund Checks,” written by Joel Hendon and published on Examiner.com on September 7, 2013.

According to a USAO press release dated Sept. 7, 2013, a Montgomery man pled guilty yesterday, Sept. 6, 2012, in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, to one count of theft of public funds and one count of passing U. S. Treasury checks with forged endorsements.

David Lee Haigler, of Montgomery, Ala., was accused of obtaining 263 fraudulent U.S. Treasury refund checks and refund anticipation loan checks totaling $606,781.34, between November 2011 and July 2012. The refund checks were in the names of different individuals who had not authorized Haigler to cash them.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.