Crime

June 6, 2014

Fraudulent tax refund checks discovered in metro-east

The Criminal Investigations Division of the Department of Revenue is warning metro-east businesses of fraudulent tax refund checks.

The warning was issued Thursday after the department recovered three fraudulent checks from a business in St. Clair County. Illinois Department of Revenue spokeswoman Susan Hofer said the business checks have been identified as Illinois state tax refunds.

"This the first time in quite some time anyone has been caught trying to cash a check from a local bank and saying it was from the State of Illinois," Hofer said. "Illinois checks are cut by the state comptroller. That's what that job is for. The point is to warn businesses that accept checks as part of payment and cashes checks for customers. They cannot issue checks that claim to be tax refunds if they are not written by the comptroller of the State of Illinois."

Hofer said the state did not suffer any losses in this scheme and several suspects have been identified. No one has been arrested.

The Department of Revenue continues to investigate. Hofer said this information has been forwarded to the St. Clair County Sheriff's office, which has turned over records to the Internal Revenue Service.

Anyone with information about this scam is asked to call 1-800-243-2811 or file a form online at www.revenue.state.il.us/fraud.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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