for immediate release
November 1, 2002

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office urges all financial institutions and other businesses that accept checks to be alert for individuals attempting to cash payroll checks... especially if the person presenting the check uses an Immigration card for identification.

A case currently under investigation involves payroll checks cashed by several Hispanic males; the INS ID cards were later determined to be counterfeit, and the checks were later discovered to be photocopies. The scheme has been reported at branches of the Destin Bank in both Destin and Fort Walton Beach in mid-September.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office recommends close inspection of any check presented for cashing, and requesting a second form of photo-ID to help verify the identity of the presenter. Many checks contain watermarks and other security features to help deter photocopying and other counterfeiting.

Anybody with information that may be useful in this investigation involving Hispanic males with counterfeit Immigration cards and photocopied payroll checks should contact the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office at (850) 651-7400 or Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 863-TIPS (863-8477), or toll-free at 1-888-654-TIPS.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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