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Local Police Identify New Crime: ‘Check Washing’

“Check washing” is a type of fraud where people remove the ink from checks using chemicals, then write in new recipients and higher amounts. Someone might remove a check from the mailbox, increase the amount, rewrite it to themselves, and cash it so that the funds go to them instead of the original recipient.

According to the Hartford Courant and the West Hartford Police Department, check washing has become a significant local problem. People have been using custom-made tools to remove mail from postal drop boxes, then altering and cashing the stolen checks.

In many cases, the account holder only notices the theft when they receive a late notice from a creditor. People who check their accounts frequently may notice suspicious activity right away.

In any case, this kind of theft is illegal, and West Hartford detectives, the Postal Inspector, and Postal Police are cracking down on the new crime.

West Hartford Capt. Eric Rocheleau encourages people to drop off mail during business hours and refrain from leaving checks in household mailboxes to avoid becoming a target.

What Are the Penalties for Fraud?

In Connecticut, check forgery counts as fraud, and fraudulent activity under $1,000 is a misdemeanor that carries up to 1 year in jail and $2,000 in fines. Stealing more than $1,000 is a felony that can result in up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Unfortunately, many of the people who forge checks are in dire financial straits and may feel like check washing or other types of theft are their only options. Fortunately, there are legal defenses – and even second chances – for these individuals, and banks usually reimburse the victims.

If you have been accused of check forgery or another crime, Carlson & Dumeer, LLC is not here to judge you. We are here to help. Being accused of a crime is usually the lowest point in someone’s life, and our team wants to lift you back up. We truly care about the people in our community, which is why we fight for the rights of the accused in a variety of situations.

Our attorneys are available 24/7 and provide free, no-obligation case evaluations. You have nothing to lose by contacting our firm and an entire future to gain.

Put our 20+ years of combined experience on your side. Call us at (877) 795-5594 or send us a message online and schedule your free consultation today.

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