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Alert 2008-41
Description: Stearns Bank, N.A.

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of Stearns Bank, N.A., St. Cloud, MN

To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Director, Office of Thrift Supervision; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel

The above-named bank has reported that counterfeit cashier’s checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 091910455 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a lottery scam.

Counterfeit items are similar to the authentic checks but may be identified by the following traits: checks may be light blue in color and contain the following statement within the top border: “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS SECURITY FEATURES – SEE REVERSE.” The items do not contain the bank’s logo or the bank’s telephone number of (320) 253-6607.

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $6,835.44, contain a remitter name of Maggie Taylor, and include a signature of Sharon Sweeney. Due to possible variations in the appearance of the bank’s official items and differing scams associated with the counterfeit items, officials of Stearns Bank, N.A. suggest they be contacted to verify authenticity of the bank’s cashier’s checks if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the checks may contain the letterhead of “Richardson & Associates, 1030 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam, BC V3K 6S8.” The letter alerts the recipient that the author is an attorney employed by Las Vegas Sweepstakes to send the winning notification letter and to inform the winner that new mandates by the International Lottery Surplus Commission (ILSC) require that a law firm be employed to aid in the process of document preparation of lottery winnings. The letter further states that the enclosed check is to be used to pay the processing fees, legal fees, and an insurance premium. The letter may be signed by Sharon Sweeney, Tax Attorney. Contacts provided include Richard Hunt at 1-778-893-7811 and Jerry Ross at 1-604-727-9087. Please note that both telephone numbers originate in British Columbia.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Stearns Bank, N.A.’s cashier’s checks, please contact John Halvorson, Vice President & Controller, Stearns Bank, N.A., 4191 Second Street South, P.O. Box 7338, St. Cloud, MN 56302, by telephone at (320) 202-6102, by fax at (320) 258-4848, or via e-mail at [johnh@stearns-bank.com].

Consumers who receive a counterfeit or fictitious item and associated material should file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC’s Web site at www.ftc.gov.

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian scams): by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or via e-mail at [info@phonebusters.com]. Their Web site, www.phonebusters.com, provides additional contact numbers.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) – The BBB system serves markets throughout Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States, and is the marketplace leader in advancing trust between businesses and consumers. The international Web site http://www.bbb.org offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than two million businesses, consumer scam alerts, and tips on a wide variety of topics that help consumers find trustworthy businesses and make wise purchasing decisions.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Fraud Complaint Center (scams that may have originated via the Internet) at http://www.ic3.gov.

  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector Service by telephone at 1-888-877-7644, by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100, or via e-mail at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.

Additional information concerning this matter that you believe should be brought to the attention of the OCC may be forwarded to:

E-mail:occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov
Mail:Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Special Supervision Division, MS 6-4
250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219
Fax:(202) 874-5214
Internet:http://www.occ.gov

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC’s anti-fraud resource at: http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/fraud-resources/index-fraud-resources.html.

/signed/

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance