Counterfeit state check ring nets nearly $27,000

Posted: Sunday, August 04, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Three more counterfeit state checks have surfaced in the Anchorage area, raising the total take of a phony check scheme to nearly $27,000, the state Department of Revenue said Friday.

The checks were floated to businesses in the Anchorage area about the same time as five previous checks, said Larry Persily, deputy commissioner for revenue.

In all, eight counterfeit checks totaling about $26,754 have been presented to businesses in the Anchorage area by people using four different names, Persily said. The forgeries have been discovered by Key Bank, which handles the state account, Persily said.

The forgeries bear the title ''State of Alaska Treasury Warrant General Fund'' and appear similar to checks paid to state vendors, Persily said. The checks are distinctly different from state payroll checks.

The forgeries also contain an error on the checks, but Persily would not say what that was.

At least three check cashing businesses in Anchorage -- Alaska 1st Cash, Cash Alaska and Checksfirst Corp. -- have accepted some of the counterfeits, the department said.

The phony checks are made out for irregular amounts -- two were made out for $2,053 and two others for $4,467 -- and they bear four different names, Persily said. The counterfeits discovered so far have been cashed between July 29-30, he said.

The state Department of Revenue began warning area businesses after discovering the first batch of five phony checks on Thursday. The second batch was discovered Friday.

Revenue Commissioner Wilson Condon advised businesses to ask for more than one form of identification before accepting state checks and to be cautious of checks presented by strangers.

Businesses that accept counterfeit checks could be responsible for the loss, according to the department.

The Anchorage Police Department is investigating the crime.

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