Local police are hoping to get international authorities involved in the investigation of a forged $134,000 check drawn on Liberty Township’s bank account.
Officials from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said they have reached out to Interpol — the International Criminal Police Organization — about the forgery but have not received word from the agency. The check was reportedly cashed by a used-car dealer in Great Britain at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Deputies said they plan to turn the case over to Interpol or the appropriate federal agency.
The sheriff’s office got involved in the case on May 3 when deputies were called to the Liberty Township offices in Powell.
Liberty Township’s fiscal officer, Nancy Denutte, discovered the forgery while reconciling checks to the township’s bank statement.
At a glance, the forged check looked authentic and included the signatures of all three township trustees, Denutte said.
“‘Who is this?’ was the big thing that came to mind,” Denutte said when she first saw the canceled check and became suspicious. “I had a check with everyone’s signatures on it.”
She said she also noticed the number on the check. “The check number was one that we haven’t even gotten up to (in the sequence),” Denutte said.
The township turned the forged check over to the sheriff’s office for investigation.
Denutte has been the fiscal officer for the township since April 1 this year.
The check was cashed by the Royal Bank of Scotland which sent it to the Delaware County Bank. “How could our bank possibly let that check go through?” Denutte said Tuesday. “I contacted our bank. The money was back in our account the next day.”
Denutte said the creation of the forged check and transaction possibly had all taken place online. It’s believed the trustees’ signatures came from signed public documents on the township’s website. “Banks don’t look at the checks,” she said. “They look at the account numbers. To keep it from happening again, we have taken steps to make sure it doesn’t.”
The township now uses “Positive Pay,” a service of the Delaware County Bank, she said. Each month the township sends list of written checks to the bank. “If the check is not on the list, they don’t pay the check,” Denutte said.
Delaware County Bank has not returned calls seeking comment from The Gazette.
Because the investigation is ongoing, the only information sheriff’s officials would offer was from the offense report filed May 3: “Upon investigation it was determined that a criminal offense did occur.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.