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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Fake Bank Account Scam

Updated: Wednesday, October 15 2014, 11:04 AM EDT
CINCINNATI, WKRC (Howard Ain) -- It all started with a stolen check of almost one million dollars.

It ended with an undercover sting in Detroit and in between there was an unusual twist. 

Michael Van De Putte, a US Postal Inspector, said, "We were contacted by the attorneys of a real estate management firm, in the suburbs, of a tax refund check that they were missing."

The check's value?  More than 900,000 dollars.

De Putte said, “Checks like the one in this case of approximately 955 thousand dollars are not often negotiated at our local bank branch.”

But the IRS-issued check was stolen within one day.

“After an investigation we found someone attempted to create a bank account in the name of that business and cash that check.”

The mastermind, named Dion Franklin, paid a young woman to open that account and asked her to deposit the check the next day.  Postal Inspectors quickly nabbed that person and enlisted her in their effort to find the others involved.

“This person decided to cooperate with us, as it was in their best interest and agreed to wear a surveillance device and attempt to get the mastermind.”

Inspectors then set up a meeting.

“They began talking for 40 minutes and several different occasions mentioned the check and why she hadn't gotten her money yet.  Why the check hadn't been cashed, what went wrong.”

Then, in a bizarre twist, “He then tried to turn around and blame everything on the informant which forced us to do lie detector tests on both individuals and the scheme came out that he was the mastermind and was the one who came up with the idea.”

Inspectors say the lead criminal often takes advantage of those less fortunate.

“I got a quick way to make 50 or 100 dollars or even up to 500 dollars all you have to do is open this bank account and use your name and put themselves in the line of fire.”

Dion Franklin pleaded guilty to theft and embezzlement of public funds.  He was sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

VIDEO HEREHoward Ain, Troubleshooter: Fake Bank Account Scam

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