Thieves steal more than $25K from local insurance business
December 14, 2017 09:57 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- An Albuquerque insurance business is out more than $25,000 after thieves forged checks and then cashed them at four Albuquerque banks.
Kerry Webb, a personal assistant at the New Mexico Property Insurance Program, said thieves stole at least seven checks from a mailbox outside her office. They were supposed to be sent to clients. Instead, she said the thieves used the check information to create fake ones.
"It's very sad to think that people would do that especially this time of year when people are counting on getting checks, and those that are trying to make repairs on their homes because of hail damage or whatever, they need the money," Webb said.
On Tuesday she said thieves successfully cashed four of those checks at local banks, withdrawing more than $25,000 before the banks caught on and closed the account.
"It's a huge feeling of violation," she said. "Knowing that you have a mailbox you believe to be safe and you're taking your mail out minutes before the carrier comes you assume it's going to be OK."
Police arrested David Andrews for allegedly trying to cash one of those fraudulent checks. According to court documents, Andrew told detectives someone named "Wicho" asked him to cash the check in exchange for $100.
A day later police arrested Gabriel Armijo for also trying to cash a fake check from another business. He told police the same person also asked him to cash it in exchange for a free hotel room.
Webb said it's clear the people who tried to cash seven of their checks were part of an organized group.
"The seven checks that we know of were taken to seven different branches all between 4 and 4:15 p.m. the same day," she said. "And it was done in such a manner that the bank couldn't put a flag on fast enough when they realized what was going on."
Webb said they'll no longer be leaving checks in the mailbox for pickup.
Updated: December 14, 2017 09:57 PM
Created: December 14, 2017 07:36 PM
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