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Invoice scam hits local businesses

John Colson

Local police agencies have joined with others around the state to catch a group of con artists who reportedly have bilked area businesses for what one detective described as “thousands of dollars.”

According to Basalt Police Det. Steve Wilson, the scam involves the issuance of a phony invoice to a local medical clinic, requesting payment of a small amount of money. The clinic frequently cuts a check without making inquiries, thinking that a previous bill was slightly underpaid.

The con men, according to police, then print up fake checks using information off the real one, and using the authorized signature, they can then start cashing the checks for large amounts of money.

According to Wilson, businesses in Basalt and Aspen have been targeted, as well as firms in the Front Range communities of Boulder, Greenwood Village and Aurora. Wilson is working with Aspen Police Det. Glenn Schaffer on the investigation, as well as police from the other Colorado communities and investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office.

“From what I’ve gotten, it goes coast to coast,” Wilson said Wednesday, explaining that the scam appears to have originated in New York. The invoices sent to local businesses were from a firm named Roitekh Medical Lab, which Wilson called a “fake company.” He said he was not sure how much money is involved nationally, but estimated that it probably is a large sum.

Local medical clinics, other businesses and private citizens are being advised to take extra care in paying bills, and to make sure the bills are authentic invoices from actual companies familiar to the recipient of the bill.


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