ONLY ON KOLD: Check washing - Tucson News Now

ONLY ON KOLD: Check washing

Posted: Updated:
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The crime is called "check washing": Changing the payee's name on a check and stealing thousands of dollars.

Surveillance video shows thieves stealing from business mailboxes.

A savvy business owner had the cameras installed after reports of suspicious break-ins.

He was alerted by a ping on his cell phone and he was able to zoom in and identify his business mailbox was being broken into.

The video shows the car and image of wilfredo Bermudez, the ringleader of a scam that cost victims more than $50,000 dollars.

"He was obtaining business checks, he would wash and alter them and make them payable to himself and deposit them or cash them at the banks they were drawn on."

"Check washing" is the process of erasing details from checks to allow them to be rewritten.

The checks that they obtained could be anywhere from $200 to $8,000. There was a large range of checks they negotiated. In fact, they were often able to retrieve cash immediately and quickly by going to the bank where the check was drawn.

"So they could use their true identification and the check would be made payable to themselves and without question they could go in and cash it."

Postal inspectors say this is yet another lesson on how important it is for all consumers to protect their identity.

"Be very diligent about checking your bank accounts, credit card statements for fraudulent transactions. Your checking and savings to make sure everything is reconciled and all the checks can be accounted for."

Postal inspectors also recommend requesting a free yearly credit check. The suspect in this case, Wilfredo Bermudez, was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $50,000 dollars in restitution to his victims.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Special ReportsMore>>

  • ONLY ON KOLD: Crossing the line

    ONLY ON KOLD: Crossing the line

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:19 AM EDT2014-07-30 05:19:04 GMT
    This has exploded into what's arguably the biggest immigration story in the world today and Tucson is right in the middle of it. Som Lisaius reports.
    This has exploded into what's arguably the biggest immigration story in the world today and Tucson is right in the middle of it. Som Lisaius reports.
  • ONLY ON KOLD: Cartel lookout homes revealed

    ONLY ON KOLD: Cartel lookout homes revealed

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:25:04 GMT
    The border crisis has all eyes on the surge of illegal immigrants pouring into Texas with transports coming to Southern Arizona.
    The border crisis has all eyes on the surge of illegal immigrants pouring into Texas with transports coming to Southern Arizona.
  • ONLY ON KOLD: Flood dangers

    ONLY ON KOLD: Flood dangers

    Tuesday, July 8 2014 3:25 PM EDT2014-07-08 19:25:23 GMT

    Flood dangers range from a threat to your family, to your home, to your wallet. Find out what risk you face and what the price for coverage could be.

    Flood dangers range from a threat to your family, to your home, to your wallet. Find out what risk you face and what the price for coverage could be.

Powered by WorldNow