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Check fraud uncovered

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School District’s checkbook’s balance wasn’t adding up when the company’s insurance clerk balanced it earlier this week, according to a police report.

Business Manager Margaret Parson said someone apparently took a blank check form and, using NASD’s checking account and routing number, made at least seven checks, which were later cashed by six people for a total of nearly $8,500 at various Walmart locations along the Gulf Coast.

“We send out thousands of checks (a month) to various vendors,” Parson said. “(The checks) look like a check form that you could buy from any place, it just has our number on it.”

The names on the forged checks were: Kevin D. McMurtrie, Zenetra F. Stallworth, Lynette Hall, Rushion T. Harrison, Nathan William Oljer and Lorian Uribe, according to the police report.

Natchez Lt. Craig Godbold said it’s a scam that happens more often than the police department would like to admit.

“All an individual needs is a valid routing and account number,” he said. “He’ll print checks out, using the correct routing number and checking number, and then just use someone else’s name (to cash them).”

For example, Godbold said, the person who prints the check will recruit someone, and tell the person he or she can make a fast $200. The printer will write out a $1,200 check in the person’s name, the person will cash the check for the printer, keep $200 and return the rest to the printer.

“Then the person who actually cashed the check gets arrested and the other person is usually long gone,” Godbold said.

Since the checks were cashed along the Gulf Coast, Godbold said the case will be handed over to the proper departments in those jurisdictions, and from there, the individuals’ whose names appear on the checks will be tracked down and interviewed in hopes of catching the printer.

Parson said none of the names on the checks are those of employees or employees’ relatives.

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