Small business owner deals with theft from bank accounts

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- If you think your bank account is theft-proof, FOX6's Contact 6 says you need to think again!

"I was very, very angry. I don`t like it when someone steals from me," Mary Pearson said.

Pearson is a small business owner who received a call from her bank.

"They said - 'did you write a check for $2,400?' And I said 'I absolutely did not,'" Pearson said.

Pearson then went to the bank to make sure no other bad checks had been written. Then, she filed a police report.

"My next thought was 'how in the world did they get that information? Who is this person and why did they pinpoint us?'" Pearson said.

As it turns out, Pearson was one of 55 victims who had accounts compromised with more than $60,000 in losses.

The two suspects were producing and cashing counterfeit checks.

"Take the information on the checks that were stolen and just create a new check based on that information," U.S. Postal Inspector David Nitz said.

Inspectors were able to identify some of the check cashers recruited as part of the ring.

"We were able to get one of the check cashers -- started working with them and that resulted in them doing recordings and phone calls and track their locations," Nitz said.

Pearson says she has learned a valuable lesson.

"Now, I go online daily to see what`s gone through on a daily basis and the amount and who it went to," Pearson said.

"If you are a business, make sure checks are being reconciled as soon as you are able," Nitz said.

Two suspects were arrested, but for Pearson, that's not enough.

"I would almost like him to come work for me. He would clean toilets, and he would sweep out the warehouse and take out the trash and he would do all the menial jobs and get $1 a day. He would work off the $2,400," Pearson said.

Instead, the main suspect is serving 18 years in prison.