Abraham Duran, 20, is facing charges for grand theft after police say he stole a check from hotel guests, and cashed in thousands.
Duran was a valet and bellhop at the Naples Hotel and Beach Club. His arrest report says the couple he targeted dropped off their rental car and luggage to Duran. That’s when he stole one of their checks, signed it and cashed it for $45,000.
Police finally just arrested him two months later.
“Well you might think his signature won’t match with the victim’s signature—it’s not unusual for checks to actually clear a bank when the signatures don’t match. A lot of it is now automated, not like the old days when someone checks them,” said fraud expert Carrie Kerskie.
Kerskie says if you’re going on vacation, keep your money close.
“You have to make sure you keep it on your person at all time,” Kerskie said. “When it’s your check that is stolen, it’s a little more difficult because you have to go through the steps to prove it wasn’t you who signed the check.”
She says always use a credit card when traveling, bring one check for emergencies and talk with your bank about alerts for any large transactions.
“Checks are actually easier, which is ironic because you hear about credit cards skimmed or debit cards getting skimmed. What you have to think about is when your credit card gets skimmed, whose money is getting stolen? The bank’s,” Kerskie said.
The hotel’s general manager says that Duran was fired from the hotel for a bad driving record, before they ever knew about the stolen check. The manager also says all of his employees have to pass background checks.