On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel received a United States postage Priority Mail Express packet.
The packet was sent from a person listed on the shipping label as Gary Johnson from Reliance Capital Limited in Boynton Beach, Florida and contained a Cashier’s check from First Fidelity Bank out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, made out personally to Tom Weitzel in the exact amount of $1,720.77. The remitter on the check was listed as Georgia Cox.
The chief found it very unusual that anyone would send a personal check to the Riverside Police Department and that they made the check payable for a very specific amount to him. Additionally, the remitter on the cashier's check differed from the name listed on the outer postage label. Chief Weitzel stated he was not expecting a check, nor did he have any investments or any information on the remitter. He could not obtain any information on this check or the sender so he turned it over to his detectives for investigation.
It was learned through investigation, that while there is a Reliance Capital Limited, there is no Reliance Capital Limited in Boynton Beach, Florida and the returned address listed, 124 East Ocean Avenue, does not exist for Reliance Capital.
It was found that this was a check scam in which the scammers wanted the receiver of the check, in this case Chief Tom Weitzel, to deposit it into his bank account so that they could either get him to wire money directly to them or, after depositing the cashier's check into his account, to get his routing numbers for his bank and clean out his accounts.
Chief Weitzel stated, “If these scammers can target Riverside Police, just imagine what can be done to the average citizen or elderly residents. There’ve been many reports throughout the United States where people have fallen for this and been scammed out of money or had their accounts accessed by scammers and, in some cases, scammers from outside the U.S. To our residents and those of greater Cook County – do not fall for this scam. If you’re not expecting money or someone’s sending you money or checks for no reason that you know, it’s absolutely a scam. Do not deposit these cashier's checks into your account so that these fraudsters can get your banking information. I was fortunate the check was delivered to Riverside Police Department and had my detectives check into it, but I imagine most residents don't have those resources immediately available. Always check with your bank officials before depositing a check you were not expecting to receive.”