Midlander Escapes Becoming a Victim of a Scam

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A charitable organization in Missouri is at the center of a Nationwide check scam.

There were several things about the check that made Alan Graham wonder if it was all on the up and up, so he called the Foundation that supposedly sent him the check.  So did we.  They say it wasn't them.

"These checks are not our checks," Acting President, Beverly Powell, said.

The Truman Heartland Community Foundation is in Independence Missouri.  Graham is in Midland.  How the two came to cross paths is a mystery.

According to Graham, "I got this check in the mail (Friday).  It says it's from the Truman Heartland Community Foundation.   It's in the amount of $2,500, made out to me."

Beverly Powell says somebody else is smearing their good name, "These are checks that some outside person has created.  They are counterfeit checks that have apparantly been printed on their little home printer.   We don't have any idea how they came up with us, to target for this."

The only thing in the envelope Graham received was the check, dated Sunday, October 18th, 2009, and a note telling him to send an email to a certain address as soon as he got it, "I contacted the email address but didn't get a response from it."

The Real Foundation gives scholarships and grants to people throughout their community.   Graham recently applied for a small business loan.   But how the two fit together is yet another mystery.

"I have never contacted this company, but I thought someone that I had contacted, might have sent my information over to them," Graham said.

"We do a number of scholarships that we manage for a number of school districts and foundations.  We also fund a number of charities," Powell explained.

Foundations officials say, fortunately they aren't out any money and the case is being investigated by the FBI in Missouri.

Graham isn't out any money either, but he has a word of warning, "There's a lot of people out there, trying to take advantage of unsuspecting people and there are a lot of people out there that are willing to fall prey to this kind of stuff.  It sure would be nice to have that money though."

NewsWest 9 spoke to local FBI agents in Midland.  They say this type of scam is very common.   At this time, they have not received any calls on any other possible victims in the Permian Basin.