Scammers target judge in Livingston Parish with counterfeit check
DENHAM SPRINGS- If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is. There's a lot of wisdom to that old phrase and one that Judge Jerry Denton took seriously.
It all started earlier this month when he received suspicious text messages on his cell phone. The person texting him wanted him to help market certain types of energy drinks and beverages.
"The grammar on the message was poor, and I thought it had all the earmarks of a scam," Denton said.
It's unclear how the scammers got Denton's number, but he began engaging them after his former law enforcement background kicked in. He gave the court's address and overnight, he received a UPS envelope sent from New York with a check enclosed for $4,855.
The insignia SEFCU was on the check, a federal credit union in New York. Denton said he called SEFCU and found the company reported scammers using their logo to send checks around to would-be victims.
"I gave her the routing number and the check number, and she said that's absolutely inaccurate and a fraudulent routing number," Denton said. "There's no such thing. The numbers are too high, and none start with the first three."
Denton said he learned once the checks are cashed the scammers drain the victims' bank accounts using an elaborate scheme.
"She said the Secret Service was made aware of this taking place," Denton said. "This was going on not only in our part of the country but all over."
Denton is using his vigilance to speak out. He's hoping they don't prey on the elderly, disabled or young people who might be desperate.
"Please don't take this and put this in your bank," Denton said. "There is no free lunch. There's nobody going to give you money for nothing. If this was legitimate there would have been a contractual agreement."
The Secret Service told WBRZ there are multiple open cases involving counterfeit checks that were sent to victims in our area. They urge anyone who receives a check from an agency or an individual that they were not expecting funds from to not cash it unless you determine it is for a legitimate purpose.
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