FDLE and Tallahassee police are convinced someone in the capital city is helping Nigerian scam artists make thousands.
TPD revealed Thursday it has intercepted more than 100 phony checks and money orders designed to dupe the naive or tempt the greedy.
Nigerian bank scams are not a far off phenomenon. In a folder Tallahassee police have more than 120 counterfeit cashier's checks mailed in a Tallahassee drop box and potentially worth half a million dollars, all of it fraudulent.
SGT Bill Bierbaum of the TPD Financial Crimes Unit says, "So far all leads have gone back to Nigeria, even though all the addresses, the return addresses, are United States addresses, and the checks, all the checks, are from banks throughout the U.S."
Clearly the people running these scams are getting better. There's no longer the trademark Nigerian post mark and the return address is very often somewhere in your own community. We went in search of one address, 2250 Stuckey Avenue. It doesn't exist. It's somewhere in a wooded lot near the railroad tracks.
The checks range from $3,000 to more than $30,000. Just this week a FAMU professor was arrested for trying to cash one of the bogus checks, and Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist even received one at the Capitol.
"The thing that's really diabolical about this whole scam is that they've really taken a significant effort, not just an e-mail to you, but this is an envelope that comes to your personal residence or personal office with your address and your name. Someone's done some very good homework," says Crist.