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Alert 2006-54
Description: California National Bank

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks of California National Bank, Los Angeles, CA

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 cashier’s checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 322284892 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with various up-front fee scams.

Counterfeit items may be identified by the following incorrect traits: Checks are printed on blue-speckled paper containing a green-colored tinge on the left side and security statements in both the top and bottom borders. The following statement appears within the top border of the check “THIS CHECK IS VOID WITHOUT A GREEN & BLUE BORDER AND BACKGROUND PLUS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT WATERMARK ON THE BACK – HOLD AT ANGLE TO VIEW.” The following statement is printed along the bottom border under the signature line: “SIGNATURE AREA CONTAINS A KNIGHT & FINGERPRINT CHECK WORDING.” The instruments contain the fictitious telephone number of “818-464-3565” in the upper-left corner of the check, which is not associated with the bank.

Checks presented to date have been payable in amounts varying from $3,500 to $87,500 and include a remitter of “Wealth Management.” Thus far, the bank is aware of two specific scams in which these checks are being distributed: a “Mystery Shopper’s Prize Pool Draw” and a fraudulent payment scheme relating to the purchase of merchandise. Correspondence accompanying the counterfeit items related to the lottery scam contains the letterhead of “Wealth Management Incorporation, 28F1-144 4 Ave SW, Sun Life Plaza, West Tower, Calgary, AB T2P 3N4, Tel: 1-403-612-2176, Fax: 1-800-573-5770.” These letters notify recipients of their winning status and instruct them to use the enclosed check to pay the withholding tax on their total prize amount. Instructions also state that it is imperative for recipients to contact their claim handler upon receipt of the notification, or their winnings will be forfeited. Names appearing within the correspondence may include Steve Bennett and Victoria Rosen.

For additional information and guidance, please contact Irma Rios-Rodriguez, Loss Prevention Officer, California National Bank, 221 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, by telephone at (213) 443-1752, by fax at (213) 620-8760, or via the Hotline at (213) 443-1768.

To verify the authenticity of California National Bank’s cashier’s checks, please contact Customer Service at (866) 373-7838.

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

E-mail: occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov
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
Internet: http://www.occ.gov

For additional information regarding other types of financial fraud, please visit the OCC's anti-fraud resource at:
http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/fraud-resources/index-fraud-resources.html.

/signed/

Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance