DOWNTOWN — The Santa Monica Police Department is requesting the public’s help in identifying two women suspected of conning victims out of thousands in a counterfeiting and forgery scam.
The two women allegedly approach victims and ask them to deposit a counterfeit check into their account. The victim then withdraws an equivalent amount of cash and gives it to the suspects who, in turn, give the victims a small amount of money for helping, according to the police.
It takes a few days for the bank to discover that the check is fraudulent, and then the victim is out the remainder of the cash, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, spokesperson for the police department.
So far, four victims have come forward. Each were approached as they were leaving the Bank of America on the 1300 block of Fourth Street, and the average loss is between $4,000 and $5,000.
Although police believe that the suspects have approached customers of other area banks, no one else has made a report, Lewis said.
“For every one that’s agreeing to this, there are hundreds who are saying no. The attempts are many,” Lewis said.
One of the suspects has been caught on surveillance video inside the bank as one of the fraudulent transactions was taking place. She is described as an African-American female between 25 and 30 years old with medium to muscular build.
She has long dark hair with blond highlights, dark eyes and a tattoo of a cherry or a heart on the right shoulder, according to the police.
The second suspect is only described as an African-American female.
Investigators are requesting assistance and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Robert D’Andrea at (310) 458-2201 ext. 6679, Sgt. Henry Ramirez at (310) 458-8453 or the Santa Monica Police Department (24 hours) at (310) 458-8495.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27463), or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. You will remain completely anonymous and may be eligible for a reward, up to $1,000, if your information leads to an arrest and conviction.
Or, anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. To text an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers; please view their webpage for detailed instructions. If the information leads to an arrest, the tipster is eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000.