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Alert 2006-56 | October 12, 2006

Counterfeit Official Checks: Counterfeit Official Checks of Alliance Bank, N.A., Syracuse, NY


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 official checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 011007092 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various lottery scams.

While the counterfeit items closely resemble authentic items, they can be identified by the following: the checks are printed using computer paper which is blue and pink in color. When photocopied, the words “VOID” and “NULL” may appear across the face of the check. In addition, the counterfeit items contain a dark border along the top of the check, with the following phrase: “VOID WITHOUT A COLORED BACKGROUND AND AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK CERTIFICATION SEAL ON THE BACK. HOLD AT ANGLE TO VIEW SEAL.”

Items presented to date have contained 6-digit serial numbers beginning with the series of both 227 and 228, use a remitter name of either Jennifer Caruso or Lillian McKinney, and have been made payable in the amounts of $2,990 or $3,000.

Correspondence accompanying the checks may contain the letterhead of “International Processing Center, 308 Richmond Road, Ottawa, ON K2A 0E8” or “Guta Financial Trust Services, Centerville House, Collins Avenue, PO Box N-7543, Nassau Bahamas.” The letters alerts the recipient that he or she is the winner of an unclaimed prize and should contact claims agent Kenny Gozie at 613-255-0238 or Norah Williams and Perry Newman at 403-889-5419. The recipient is informed that the enclosed check is to be used to pay the mandatory processing fees and/or international taxes as well as the finance charges incurred when wiring back the said fees. The correspondence is signed by Jennifer Caruso, Accounting Department (International Processing Center) and Lillian McKinney, Director Claims & Credit Control (Guta Financial Trust Services).

The volume of these counterfeit items has increased and the variation of their appearance has become constant. Bank officials, therefore, should verify any suspicious checks directly with Alliance Bank, N.A.

For additional information and guidance and to verify the authenticity of Alliance Bank, N.A.’s official checks, please contact Shari Gordon, Security Officer, 120 Madison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202, by telephone at (315) 475-4753, by fax at (315) 475-0870, or via email at [].

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

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

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resource page.


Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance