Fake WILX checks part of larger money mule operation

People across the country receiving checks appearing to be from WILX
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 3:48 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 2:44 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - More and more checks appearing to be from WILX are popping up across the country.

The FBI said this is part of a bigger money mule scheme.

“This is one of the largest frauds going on right now,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ruben Coleman.

Coleman said money mules move money they got illegally- mostly by scamming people.

“What they are trying to do is clean the money. They are trying to run it through our financial systems in order to make it look legitimate,” said SSA Coleman.

To do that, scammers try to find unsuspecting people to transfer the money to. Usually, it is in the form of a job.

Anita Gable in Winfield, Alabama is one of those people.

“I was suspicious and then I looked up the phone number that was on the piece of paper with the check. And the instructions were to text that number,” said Gable.

She recently got a check worth more than $2,000 addressed from WILX and instructed her to sign up to put an ad on her car.

Gable is one of at least a dozen people who have gotten these checks across the country.

“Nothing really connected. I didn’t think it was anything that was legitimate. I thought it was a scam,” she said.

SSA Coleman said most people don’t realize they are being used as money mules until the FBI sends them a letter. Most people then stop. It’s the ones who don’t that special agents are looking for.

The people sending the checks can face wire fraud, money laundering and other charges if caught.

“Those are some serious federal charges they are looking at if they continue to move on with the scheme,” said SSA Coleman.

Coleman said it has caught scammers in several other cases.

Our parent company, Gray Television, is working with authorities to help find them.

If you get an unexpected check that appears to be from WILX, call the station at 517-393-0110. Report any check you suspect is part of a scam to your local police department or attorney general.

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