Important Notice from the Department of Homeland Security Regarding an Ongoing Scam


April 16, 2003


The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested that securities regulators alert broker/dealers about an on-going scam. The DHS' Office of Investigations, New York Field Office, is conducting an investigation into the use of counterfeit/fictitious "Bank" and "Cashier" checks to open online trading accounts.


One particular organization typically mails a check, a downloaded application containing the fictitious/stolen identity, and two forms of altered identification, after establishing the online relationship. This may involve speaking with a broker by telephone. The victimized firms then deposit the check because it is believed to be official. During the 10-day clearing period, the organization will trade. If the trading results in a profit, they would then ask the firm to wire funds to an account held at a foreign bank. The organization will also ask the firm to wire recently deposited funds (from the "check") to the above-mentioned accounts, because the may have "over extended themselves".


In numerous cases, the firms have sent amounts of $9,000-$68,000.


If you have any information about this type of activity, please immediately notify DHS Special Agent Erik Rosenblatt at (646) 230-3253.