I was almost arrested as a Criminal Today

need an attorney!This is actually pretty funny, because I have this bizarre personal phobia about going to prison. 

I am not a criminal, I assure my good readers, but someone I know- who used to be a mortgage broker- actually went to prison a couple of years ago because she wasn't diligent and some of her loan officers commited fraud.

She didn't actually do anything...the loan officers she employed did some dishonest stuff.

So, because I am a little neurotic, it freaked me out.  Now I have this irrational fear that one of my employees will make a legitimate mistake here or there and the FBI will be kicking my door in at any moment while I franitically dial the best criminal defense attorney in Phoenix.

...but I digress.  What happened to me is that I listed my car with AutoTrader- that is, I wanted to sell my old car.  It was listed for a couple of months and I really didn't get any phone calls.  Doesn't anybody want a 1999 Lexus with a dented front fender and 96,000 miles?

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago this guy calls me and says that he wants to buy my car, but that he was "out of state."  He said he would buy it without even looking at it, due to the pictures I had posted on the internet.  He said he would arrange for shipping of the vehicle.  Basically, he told me this was a done deal.

I was thrilled.

Then, it got a little weird.  He told me that he had already purchased the Cashier's Check and had it made out for $16,000 - which was $3000 more than I was asking for the car.  He was looking at several vehicles, he explained, and none was more expensive than $16,000...blah blah blah.

He asked if I would wire him a $3000 rebate after I cashed the thing.  Uh...  Of course, my Spider Sense was tingling, but if he sent the money, I couldn't find anything illegal about it.  In fact, I kind of liked it.

So the check came on Saturday.

It was a beautiful Washington Mutual Cashier's Check in the amount of $16,000 - just like he promised.  Watermarks and the whole deal.

Here is what the guy anticipated:  That there wasn't a Washington Mutual near my home (they don't have physical banks in every state, do they?) and that I would just deposit it into my account.  Maybe it would clear at first and he would have already gotten his $3000.  Maybe my bank wouldn't find the error for a while.

Unfortunately for the jack-ass, there is a Washington Mutual branch one-half mile from my front door.  Because I like holding $16,000 in my greedy little hands, I brought the check into WaMu this morning.  The teller took the check and than disappeared into the back for a little while.  About fifteen minutes went by and I was getting agitated and I was about to throw a fit.  That's when the detective tapped me on the shoulder.

Bottom line:  I almost got arrested for trying to walk out of WaMu with $16,000 from a fake cashier's check.  I think that's probably the average "take" that a bank robber gets.  I was just doing it without a gun.  It took quite a bit of explaining, but after running my name and finding that I've never even had a traffic ticket, the detective eased up.  I gave him the emails and blah blah blah.  After a couple of hours, it's over.

So I just thought I would warn my fellow ActiveRainers about this scam.  I know most of you are thinking that I am probably a moron, but the cashier's check was brilliantly forged and, like I said, if I got the green in my hand, I couldn't see any violation of the law.

I guess the moral of the story is:  Don't trust people who don't live in the same state as you do.  Everybody outside of Arizona is evil as far as I am concerned.  (kidding)

Are you looking for a Arizona Refinance?  Visit National Wholesale Mortgage for outstanding California mortgage rates. 


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Comments 26 New Comment

David Lawson - NMLS #252510
Gateway Funding

My daughter had a similar experience. I told her since it seemed fishy, to go into the bank and talk to the branch manager and inform them what was happening first. She did, and it was a scam. It also helped them catch this individual though.


May 28, 2007 11:54 PM
Dawn Workman
Camas Real Estate Expert, MBA, 480-540-8100
Veracity Real Estate Group, LLC
Karen, I have to say you honestly scared me.  I am a new realtor and met you and was actually referred here at that time, and plan on using you guys when I finally get a client.  So, I am glad that you were not almost arrested because of borderline mortgate fraud, and just for passing a fake check  :)
May 29, 2007 12:48 AM
Judy Klahr
EWM of Aventura

Had the same thing happen with the "overpayment scam" in a real estate transaction.  We just have to be careful that if anyone is rushing, or it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Glad all turned out well.


July 16, 2007 05:42 PM
Scott Dovala
Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
Ascent Home Loans


If they give you anymore trouble we will all vouch for you....we have them outnumbered.



July 16, 2007 06:25 PM
AZ SEO Expert: Phoenix SEO Consultant
Thanks Scott!
July 16, 2007 07:18 PM

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Michael George earned two bachelors degrees at Oakland University, in Rochester Hills, MI. One in Political Science and one in Management Information Systems. Michael George consults with professionals on their search engine marketing (SEM) efforts.