Bogus Checks in Gadsden County

By: Marise Estime
By: Marise Estime

8/17/06

Residents have received checks in the mail of up to $3,000 from a sweepstakes lottery. They are checks authorities say are bogus.

Mike Kurdi is looking closely at every check he cashes. About three months ago Kurdi cashed one totaling $3,000. It turned out to be a bogus check.

Mike Kurdi, a Gadsden County merchant, said, "It's a legitimate check with a legitimate account and with a legitimate company, but it's counterfeit. You know these people, they stole the account, from the computer or the Internet and company, because when I talked to the company in New York they say this is our account, but it is not our check."

The checks have been making their way into Gadsden County mailboxes.

Stephanie Jenkins said, "My cousin had received one and she was saying she had got it and they sent it to her and it was a large amount, and I told her don't cash it."

The company North-American Sweepstakes Lottery claims residents were selected through a random computer ballot and won a specified amount, and in order to get the rest of the winnings they would have to send the company a moneygram to cover taxes on the prize.

The Sheriff's Office says the checks are all around town, and if you get one of them they want to hear from you.

We contacted the company and spoke to an agent who hung up on us. In the meantime, deputies are hoping to get the word out to residents before they get swindled. If you cash one of these bogus checks, you could face criminal charges.

Local authorities hope to get the FBI involved in an investigation of the sweepstakes company, which is based in Canada.


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