Local News

Fayetteville Man Discovers Bank Cashed Stolen Checks Made Out to Third Party

Posted December 23, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— If a check is made out to you or your business, can someone else cash it? They're not supposed to be able to, but a Fayetteville businessman found out the hard way.

He found out that his bank cashed stolen checks even if the checks were made out to a third party.

Larry Edwards is not a detective. He runs a hardware store. But this year he solved a crime. He found that an outside salesman was stealing from him. Not cash, but checks.

"Instead of buying the merchandise, he would deposit the checks into his personal account," said Edwards.

The checks were made out to suppliers, third parties, so Edwards was surprised the bank deposited them into a personal account.

"The banks have told us for years don't send, cash send a check. Now they're telling us we would have been just as well off to hand him the hundred dollar bills and say 'go for it,'" said Edwards.

A spokesman with BB&T declined to speak with us on camera while the bank is negotiating with the hardware store.

But he told us by phone, there've been some goofs on both sides. Namely that the cancelled checks with the employees signature right on the back were sent back to the hardware store in its monthly statement. But no one picked up on that."

"The endorsement was very obvious to anybody. It's almost like one of those 'I got you' endorsements," said Edwards.

But Edwards says the bank should pay for the stolen checks, because without the bank's error, they could not have been cashed.

The bank says this is an isolated incident. But Edwards believes if it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.

Criminal charges against the former employee are pending.

Edwards says his insurance company reimbursed him for about a third of his losses.

A BB&T spokesman said the bank is reviewing policies to ensure that this kind of theft doesn't happen again.