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50 Charter One customers say they're missing money

6:53 PM, May 24, 2011   |    comments
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It's everyone's nightmare: you check your bank account balance, and it's not a few dollars short, it's over a thousand dollars short. It happened to possibly 50 Charter One Customers, at one bank. The investigation is so serious, the Secret Service is taking over.

"Unfortunately, my husband has been laid off and this couldn't have come at a worse time," says Karen, a Charter One Bank customer. She asked we not use her last name.

At first, Karen's story didn't sound that unusual. Her husband withdrew money from their checking, only to find the balance unusually low.

"And he said well, when do you get paid and I said, well I got paid today. And he said well, there's not enough money to even cover the mortgage."

Sure enough, Karen says she was 11 hundred dollars short.

"There were 5 separate charges and 3 of them for the same dollar amount. And that keyed me in and I first thought. Well the bank made a mistake."

A bank teller told Karen the charges came from Acme supermarkets in Hudson and Stow and some other stores in that area.

"And I said, well I haven't been there and I've never frequented an Acme Supermarket."

Karen figured she was a victim of bad luck. She figured someone stole her debit card number but suspiciously she never lost her debit card.

"Well, when I went into the bank and then followed up with a police report, the police department told me I was like number 50 to have this happen."

Middleburg Heights Police wouldn't go on camera, because now this investigation is in the hands of the Secret Service Electronic Crimes division. And the case seems to be growing.

"The officer called this week and said there are other cards involved, I can't say for sure, but there were more people involved too. I've heard a number of 75 now," says Karen.

Now her mortgage money is not only caught up in a fraud claim, but possibly a much larger theft case.

We talked to an agent at the Secret Service who says they are aggressively investigating this case. They couldn't tell us anything else at this point. This is a good time to remind everyone to be vigilant about checking their statements. If you see charges you didn't make - immediately call your bank to dispute the charge. And something Karen did that most people don't think about - file a police report.


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