Thousands spent using stolen Huffman ISD checks

April 16, 2010 4:36:10 PM PDT
A school district in our area has become the victim of identity theft. Investigators say someone is writing fake checks using the school district's account and thousands of dollars are missing. The good thing though is that a couple of suspects have been caught on camera. Investigators say a man spent $4,156 at a local lumber yard after he allegedly stole someone's identity and wrote a counterfeit check from one of Huffman ISD's bank accounts. It was one of several purchases that were made using various stolen identities. District officials were stunned.

"They are using a public entity's time and money to attempt to steal," said Sonya George with the Huffman Independent School District.

Investigators say the man isn't working alone. They believe he has help. Surveillance photos show a second person of interest at a local sporting goods store where nearly $300 of the district's money was spent.

"They may either be purchasing for a builder or construction company and turn around and sell it at a discount," said Sgt. L. Peterson with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

A discount retail store first tipped off Huffman ISD last month after someone tried to pay for something with one of the school district's checks. By the time administrators checked the account, four fake checks had already cleared. It's been extremely taxing on the employees trying to get to the bottom of this.

"If you took all of the individuals' times that we have spent on it, it has been at least a couple of hundred hours," George said.

"They go undetected because they look like normal people," Sgt. Peterson said.

As long as the checking account number and bank routing information match, the transactions were never questioned by the check cashing companies who authorized them. Huffman ISD says let it be a lesson to everyone.

"You should be aware of what you are paying and what you expect to clear on your account," said George.

If you have any information about the two men in those surveillance photos, call Crime Stoppers at 713- 222-TIPS. All tips will remain anonymous and you could earn a cash reward.


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