By Alan Hirsch, Matzav.com
Over the last few months, many shuls throughout New York and New Jersey have had checks stolen from their mailboxes or shuls. Congregants of shuls in Flatbush and Teaneck have mailed or placed checks in mail boxes or plastic bins in front of shul offices. Over 40 checks – 30 in Flatbush and 10 in Teaneck – were stolen between September and December and illegally cashed mostly by an organization called KR USA at the Enterprise Bank and Trust in Clayton, Missouri. We do not have any information on who or how this individual took possession of the checks, but we are looking into all avenues and possibilities.
The issue was discovered when each of these 40 members of different shuls noticed that amounts that they had paid to the shul were not reflected on a current or prior membership statements, although the checks had been cashed per their respective bank statements.
After investigation and discussion with each of their respective banks, it was noted that the checks were not cashed by an authorized agent of the organizations, but rather mostly by an unknown individual at the bank referenced above.
Each of our members’ respective banks are currently looking into their claims and are following up accordingly. In addition, we have been in contact with the Enterprise Bank and have alerted them of the situation and they are looking into it as well. The Bank won’t say much anymore due to court instructions. In many instances, they were just illegally cashed and in one instance the amount was altered from 250 dollars to 1,250 dollars.
If you are an individual who has given a check to a tzedakah, examine the back of your check to make sure the check has been endorsed by the institution. If you are a president or treasurer of a shul, send out statements to make sure the money your contributors have sent out has gotten to you.
The important thing according to Enterprise Bank is to get your claim into your bank as fast as possible. This will help stop the perpetrators and return the money expeditiously.
If you or someone you know have also been a victim contact the authorities. Shuls should change their mailboxes to locked mailboxes. The banks will make good on the checks.
If members of your shul have been subject to this fraud, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can coordinate a list for the authorities.
Alan Hirsch is the publisher of The Vues in New York.