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Alert 2006-61
Description: Sterling National Bank

Counterfeit Official Checks of Sterling National Bank, New York, 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 official checks issued in the bank’s name and using a correct routing number of 026007773 are being presented for payment nationwide in connection with a lottery scam.

Counterfeit items do not resemble authentic items, but rather have an overall appearance of a personal check. The counterfeit items contain the name of the bank with an incorrect address of “108-01 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375-4840” and an unassociated telephone number of “(877) 533-8183” in the top-center portion of the item. The instrument does not contain the words “Official Check,” nor does it contain the bank’s logo. A 5-digit serial number is located in the upper-right corner of the check, followed by the date and payable dollar amount, which is enclosed in a rectangular-shaped box. The fractioned routing number is located in the upper-center portion of the instrument and appears as 50-777/260. The following statement is located within the darkened top border: “THIS DOCUMENT HAS A COLORED BACKGROUND AND MICROPRINTING. THE REVERSE SIDE INCLUDES AN ARTIFICIAL WATERMARK.” A memo section appears in the lower-left section of the check with an authorized signature line to the right.

Items presented to date have contained a memo line of “S&B Asset Management,” have been payable in the amount of $2,896.64, show the authorized signature as L. Grossman, and display the date of 10/20/06.

Correspondence accompanying the checks may contain the letterhead of “S&B Asset Management Corp” and be signed by Catherine Powell, Account Manager. Recipients are advised to keep all information confidential and are informed that the enclosed check is to be used to pay surcharge and processing fees. 

For additional information and guidance, and to verify the authenticity of Sterling National Bank’s official checks, please contact Joseph McGee, 500 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10018, by telephone at (212) 575-5230, by fax at (212) 575-3485, or via e-mail at [joseph.mcgee@sterlingbancorp.com].

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