Thursday, June 17, 2010
Department of Justice
United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee
IDENTITY THEFT TASK FORCE LAUNCHES "OPERATION CHECK FRAUD" FAKE CHECK CAMPAIGN
KNOXVILLE, Tenn - The U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as part of the Identity Theft Task Force for the Eastern District of Tennessee, are teaming up with area law enforcement, banks, and merchants to kick off a campaign to crack down on the passing of fraudulent checks. The campaign slogan is "Cashing Fake Checks is a Crime: You Get Caught The Other Guy Walks." The purpose of the campaign is to educate the public about the offenses involved in participating in the scheme and to protect consumers by preventing bank fraud at area banks and financial institutions.
In addition to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the United States Attorney's Office, the Identity Theft Task Force for the Eastern District of Tennessee is made of up of representatives from the U.S. Secret Service, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Knox County Sheriff's Office, Knoxville Police Department, and Knox County District Attorney General's Office.
Task Force members and participants will begin distributing posters and flyers as part of an outreach effort throughout the Eastern District of Tennessee to make citizens aware of the offense and to ensure banks and merchants have the knowledge and information to quickly identify a fake check scam. The campaign is also designed to reach the homeless population in hopes of educating them as they are often recruited by criminal organizations to cash stolen or fraudulent checks. In addition to the prevention efforts, the Task Force will be aggressively investigating and prosecuting individuals that are involved with the passing of counterfeit checks.
"The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is very pleased to combine vigorous enforcement of the law with public education, consumer awareness, and crime prevention programs. Postal Inspectors work with local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies - as well as a variety of financial institutions, credit bureaus, and other industry sources - to educate consumers and to prevent the spread of identity theft and fraudulent schemes. For over 200 years, Postal Inspectors have been fighting fraud, protecting the mail, and delivering justice for the American people to promote the honesty and integrity of the American marketplace." said Martin D. Phanco, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division.
"Identity theft is a crime that attacks our personal well-being. Aggressive prosecution of these thieves and stiff penalties for those convicted will deter this criminal conduct in the future and restore consumer faith in our financial system as well as protecting vulnerable victims such as the homeless," said Russ Dedrick, United States Attorney, Eastern District of Tennessee.