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Albany County doesn't lose money in counterfeiting scam

This check was made payable to Mat Noor Bin Sallah, who listed an address in Malaysia on the check.

The most recent fraudulent check was written in the amount of $35,000. This check was made payable to Shahbaz Ahmed, whose listed address was in Pakistan. Once again, Bank of America notified the county.

The fraudulent checks are nearly identical in appearance to the original county checks except the counterfeiters had changed some numbers on the checks, and removed the strip indicating that the check contains security features. The counterfeiters did not change the check numbers on either of the checks.

The county is keeping private the names of the county elections officials who had received the original checks.

On the first check the bank discovered, there was a discrepancy between the numerical dollar amount of $153,000.89 and the typewritten amount that read "One hundred and fifty-three thousand dollars and 50 cents."

Upon being notified of the scams, the county comptroller's office contacted the FBI to begin an investigation.

It is unclear at what point the checks could have been taken by the counterfeiters to be altered.

Conners said he is concerned that this could happen again, and added that there were other checks that were issued to county elections officials at the same time these checks were cut. Conners said the authentic nature of the checks bothers him.

"When you look at the fraudulent check, it actually looks like a better check," he said.

The check was probably scanned into a computer software program and printed. This is something, said Conners, that "someone with an eighth-grade education and a $700 computer" could do.

In addition to the concerns surrounding the possibility of more fraudulent checks appearing, Conners said he was dismayed with the county's current safeguarding system. Currently, on each check, the county's system allows bank technology to verify the date, check number, and amount on the check before the bank dispenses any funds.

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