Thieves cash close to a quarter of a million dollars worth of fraudulent checks from westside town
WHITE CASTLE- Thieves cashed $220,000 worth of fraudulent checks using the Town of White Castle's routing and account numbers on fake checks over the past few months, the WBRZ Investigative Unit learned.
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said with the help of the Attorney General's office, all but $80,000 has been recovered.
Thieves began cashing fake checks back in January. That's when Sheriff Stassi said the bank the town uses notified the Town of White Castle of the problem.
In March, the bank contacted the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office as the situation continued.
"A lot of these checks were cashed out of state," Stassi said. "I contacted the Attorney General the following morning. He sent some investigators, white collar investigators, to look into what we had."
The checks were cashed all over the country—from New York to South Carolina. The fraudulent checks look real, but were determined to all be fake. The amounts ranging from $39 to $26,700.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit requested an interview with the mayor and the town clerk of White Castle. The town attorney said they would not be available for an interview, but did say no employee is accused of any wrongdoing.
For years, the WBRZ Investigative Unit has been profiling a record-keeping mess in the Town of White Castle under the previous administration. Mysterious checks written to random citizens and raises doled out without council approval were some of the previous problems. Things finally started getting straight after the former mayor, Jermarr Williams, was convicted for his crimes.
With the latest problem, Stassi believes everyone can learn from this.
"Stay on top of your accounts," Stassi said. "Know what your expenses are. If someone tells you [that] you are overdrawn, and there's no way you should have been, that's a red flag. Look into it immediately, not let it drag out another 30 to 60 days."
It's unclear if the town waited 30 to 60 days and why the bank had to call authorities instead of the town. Meanwhile, taxpayers there like Curtis Edwards feel tricked and hope their hard earned money is returned.
"Go ahead and turn yourself in," Edwards said. "Give that money back. You can't hide forever."