Credit Union Staffer Foils Check Scheme
A financial crimes investigator at the $1.5 billion TruMark Financial Credit Union helped Philadelphia police arrest a 21-year-old man who was running a phony check scheme.
The Trevose, Pa.-based credit union lost $8,000 because of the fraud, but work by TruMark Financial Crimes Investigator Linda Volz prevented the theft of an additional $22,000. Volz also thwarted the theft of an unknown amount of funds at three other financial institutions, Vincent J. Market, TruMark Financial’s chief financial officer, said Tuesday.
About 14 TruMark Financial accounts were affected by the fraud.
Capt. Roland Lee of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit alleged that Raymond Starr approached college students and young women claiming he needed to cash a check but he didn’t have a checking account.
He convinced the victims to deposit his fake checks into their accounts and share their account information with him in return for a share of the deposited money. Before the phony check bounced, however, he would withdraw funds from the members’ accounts, according to police.
TruMark Financial initially detected Starr’s fraud scheme in November, notified police and alerted other financial institutions. Later, the credit union also identified Starr in a police photo that led to his arrest earlier this month.
Market said the credit union’s investigation also uncovered a pattern to the fraud scheme that involved Starr’s accomplices who would open accounts at other financial institutions and deposit counterfeit checks into those accounts.
“Our financial fraud specialist was able to connect the dots for the Philadelphia Police Department,” Market said.
Starr was known by police because of his criminal past and was already wanted for assaulting two police officer in Upper Southampton, Pa., in October. Previously, he had two other arrests on assault. He also pleaded guilty in 2012 to possessing a firearm and was on probation, according to police.
When police arrested Starr at a Philadelphia apartment Dec. 5, they found handguns, bottles of Oxycodone and Xanax, cash and bogus prescription slips, according to police.
Starr faces multiple criminal charges and remains in custody, police said.
“We think our investigation is going to lead us to other things,” Lee said. “We are going to run with it as far as we can, get as much information as we can, and then the FBI is going to take over this investigation.”