NORRIDGE, Ill. (CBS) – A suburban mother says a check she sent was full of red flags showing it had been stolen and doctored when it arrived at the bank – someone had manually entered and changed the letters and numbers, and had even erased the payline and written something else.
Yet, as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported on Tuesday night, Norridge’s mother said the thief managed to cash her mortgage check — and the whole thing left her in a horrific bind. Now she, Norridge Police and the bank are all trying to figure out how the check was intercepted after it fell into a letterbox.
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We caught up with Brook Heyden as she sat at the table helping her children play a word-finding game that left her son perplexed as he searched for words like ‘prize’ and ‘game’. Heyden herself is perplexed by something else – something sinister in nature that’s as far from a game as it gets.
The single mother wants to find more than $4,000 that she says was stolen from her checking account.
“I feel a little violated, like someone walked into my personal space and took my money,” Heyden said.
She first knew there was a problem when her mortgage company contacted her.
“First the mortgage company was hounding me – wondering where my payment was – and I kept saying, ‘I already sent you that check’ and I said, ‘Let me check my checking account to see if the check cleared,” Heyden said.
When she checked her Chase account, she realized the check had cleared for far more than she said it was written for.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes, because the check was for $1,000 – and they changed it to $4,000,” Heyden said, “and I never wrote a check for that big sum. silver.”
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When Heyden got a copy of the check, she noticed that someone not only came in by hand and changed the digit 1 from $1,000 to the digit 4 to make it $4,000, but also tried to change the handwritten letters where the dollar amount should be written. from ‘ON-E’ to ‘FOU-R’ – to Heyden herself was not convincing at all.
“It clearly says ‘one thousand’ in actual amount written in dollars,” Heyden said.
And the biggest red flag, Heyden said, is that someone changed the name “pay to order” to what appears to be “Bria Martin.”
“I thought, ‘Wow, OK, that doesn’t say ‘AmeriSav Mortgage,'” she said. “Clearly someone has obscured the original payment name.”
It is not known where the fraud occurred, but we do know that she placed the check in a postbox on Montrose Avenue in Norridge. Yet after going to her Chase Bank, Heyden said the manager told her:
“She contacted their fraud department and said there was nothing they could do. I had to wait until the investigation was complete.
Heyden said he was told the investigation could take at least 30 days – but up to 90 days before he gets his money back.
“I work very hard and go to school at night, to try to better myself for my children as a single mother – to be able to support them,” she said.
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Chase told us Tuesday night that he was aware of Heyden’s complaint and had launched an investigation. The bank said it was working quickly to resolve the issue, but a spokesperson could not say how long it will take.