Bad checks passed with Routt County Treasurer’s Office account information | SteamboatToday.com

Bad checks passed with Routt County Treasurer’s Office account information

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Two Ohio banks are out $15,800 after someone cashed four bad checks containing account information belonging to an account managed by the Routt County Treasurer's Office.

"The banks who cashed them are the ones that are out the money," Chief Deputy Treasurer Patrick Karschner said.

On Aug. 29, three checks totaling $10,800 were cashed at Park National Bank. The next day, a fourth check for $5,000 was cashed at HTM Area Credit Union.

According to the Treasurer's Office, the checks were professionally printed and contained the Routt County Trustee Account number and the Wells Fargo routing number.

The account is used by the Treasurer's Office for foreclosures.

Checks written from the account are typically sent to law firms and lending institutions.

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Karschner said the possibility has been raised that someone working at a law firm or lending institution might be responsible for the fraud.

The checks contained the name of an individual with the words Routt County below.

Karschner said one of the checks was written out to one of the banks. The other three were written out to the individual.

After the checks were cashed, Wells Fargo recognized the fraud and recalled the checks.

Karschner said the money was returned to the Trustee Account the same day.

Karschner said Wells Fargo has placed additional fraud protections on the account.

The Trustee Account number has not been changed.

"We have not (changed it) at the advice of Wells Fargo," Karschner said.

Karschner said the Treasurer's Office was urging people to be aware of fraud and be careful with financial information.

"If someone can pull something like this off against the county, you're not protected as an individual against fraud," Karschner said. "You really have to be alert to these type of things."

The Treasurer's Office notified the Routt County Sheriff's Office of the fraud.

Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said it would be a difficult case for them to investigate, and it would likely need to be investigated by law enforcement in the jurisdictions where the banks are located.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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