Woman loses thousands of dollars in bad check scam

OKEECHOBEE — A 35-year-old Okeechobee woman was the victim of depositing a fraudulent check, having her account overdrawn and being out thousands of dollars due to someone she reportedly met online.

According to an incident report by Deputy Tim Higgins of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, on May 8, he responded to a Northwest Fourth Street home in regard to a fraud complaint.

Deputy Higgins met with the female complainant who informed him that she received a check in the mail on March 22 from a man, William Thomas of 1028 Richmond Avenue, Stanton, Va. She supposedly met through an online dating site. Thomas apparently sent a check in the amount of $3,860.55, asked her to send him two money orders in the amount of $1,000 each and said that she could keep the leftover money of $1,860.55. Thomas supposedly told the woman the money was for an orphanage he was assisting.

The woman reportedly deposited the check from Thomas into her Seacoast Bank account, withdrew $2,000 from the account, purchased two separate Western Union money orders and sent them to Thomas. She then received a notice from her bank that stated the check she deposited was fraudulent and her account was now overdrawn. The complainant then physically went to Seacoast Bank to speak with them about the matter and was informed that she needed to make a report to law enforcement.

The report continued that after she spoke with the bank, they informed her they would conduct an investigation on the fraudulent check but she would be responsible for the money from the check. The Western Union receipt the woman received stated the money was picked up from a location in the Ukraine. The complainant said they did not realize it was scam until it was too late.

Deputy Higgins told the woman a report would be created for the incident and provided her an agency business card with the case number on it. She was then told if she had any questions or needed further assistance to notify law enforcement.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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