Thief takes out checks in DeKalb couple's name

Police are investigating a check-theft scam with a bizarre twist: Somebody allegedly ordered home-equity checks in a homeowner's name and then went on a $63,000 spending spree, Channel 2 Action News reports.

Police believe the thief used the victim's account information to order the checks from Wells Fargo Bank, then waited until he and his wife were on vacation to steal the checks out of the mailbox of their DeKalb County home.

Seven checks have been forged and cashed around the metro area.

“Someone had ordered checks on our home equity line, using our name and our address,” the victim's wife told Channel 2 Action News. She asked the station that her name and her husband’s not be reported.

The couple have had to file reports in every jurisdiction where the fraudulent checks were passed. Investigators from Sandy Springs, Doraville, Snellville and Stockbridge and DeKalb and Gwinnett counties are involved in the case.

The scheme was discovered when a bank teller in Cobb County became suspicious and contacted the victim to verify that a check was supposed to be cashed.

According to a police report, one check for $8,300 was forged with the husband’s signature on July 2 and cashed at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Sandy Springs.

“We’re getting cases like this on a regular basis,” Sandy Springs police Lt. Keith Zgonc told Channel 2.

Police have bank surveillance images of the check casher. They will try to identify the suspect and then work their way up the source of the scheme, Zgonc said. “We do see people cashing the checks don't necessarily have anything to do with the theft of the checks," he said.

The victim, meanwhile, wants to know how the suspects were able to change information about her home equity line over the phone.

A spokesman for Wells Fargo told Channel 2 that bank won’t make changes to an account without verifying a great deal of information, and that the bank takes identity theft seriously and is working with police to find those responsible.