Alert 2007-46| July 31, 2007

Counterfeit Money Orders: Counterfeit Money Orders of Canandaigua National Bank and Trust, Canandaigua, NY

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 checks purportedly drawn on a commercial account of Rotenberg & Co., LLP, but actually drawn on the bank’s general ledger account used for money orders, are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a lottery scam.

The counterfeit items may be identified by the following: the checks are of unknown color, contain the bank's name and logo in the top-center portion of the instrument, and include the business name and address of Rotenberg & Co., LLP in the upper-left corner of the check. The abbreviated routing number is printed directly beneath the bank's address, and the following security statement is printed in the top border: "THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK." The counterfeit items are missing the words "BANK MONEY ORDER," do not contain a memo line, and include only one signature line.

Items presented to date have been made payable in the amount of $4,833.00 and contain an authorized signature of Sanford Jamal. Due to possible variations of appearance of the counterfeit items, it is suggested that officials of Canandaigua National Bank & Trust be contacted to verify authenticity of similar checks, if received from an unknown or questionable source.

Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit items may contain the letterhead of "Acclaimed Game Services, 15 Mermaid Lane, Toronto, C1A 7J8, Ontario, Canada." The letter alerts the recipient that he or she is the winner of an unclaimed prize of the North-American Sweepstakes Lottery and instructs the recipient to contact claim agent Stan Johnson at 1-416-835-5733 within 14 days or the money will be forfeited. Note that this telephone number originates in Toronto. The letter further states that the enclosed check is to be used "…to pay for the applicable under-writer charges and non-resident tax on your winnings." The letter may be signed by Dr. Mary Saplopolous, Promotion Manager.

For additional information and guidance or to verify the authenticity of Canandaigua National Bank & Trust’s official items, please contact Kathleen A. Housel, Fraud Prevention Specialist, 72 South Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424, by telephone at (585) 393-6050, by fax at (585) 394-4001, or via email at [khousel@cnbank.com]. Rotenberg & Co., LLP is a legitimate public accounting firm, which is located in Rochester, NY. They have been advised by the bank of the fraudulent use of the firm’s name in relation to this scam and the counterfeit instruments. Any questions related to the company and this situation may be directed to Thom Engler, Managing Partner, 1870 Winton Road, South, Rochester, NY 14618, by telephone at (585) 295-0545, by fax at (585) 295-0645, or via email at [tenglert@rotenbergllp.com].

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

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG): by telephone at (800) 359-3898 or by visiting the OIG website.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): by telephone at (877) FTC-HELP or, for filing a complaint electronically, via the FTC's website.
  • National Consumers League (NCL): by telephone at (202) 835-3323 or by email. To file a fraud complaint, visit the NCL fraud website.
  • 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 website offers contact information for local BBBs, objective reports on more than 2 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 Internet Crime Complaint Center (to report scams that may have originated via the internet).
  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by telephone at (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 the online complaint form.

Additional information concerning this matter that should be brought to the attention of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) may be forwarded to

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Special Supervision Division
400 7th St. SW, Suite 3E-218; MS 8E-12
Washington, DC 20219
Phone: (202) 649-6450
Fax: (571) 293-4925
www.occ.gov
occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov

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


Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance