A suburban woman’s desperate attempt to recover the $40,000 she lost from a counterfeit check

Chicago (CBS) – His check for over $40,000 never arrived in the mail.

It hasn’t been lost. He said someone took it and cashed it.

Morning Insider Lauren Victory dives into a suburban woman’s case of check fraud.

Jing Ma’s fur babies are getting very upset with their nervous fur mama these days.

“You’re the only channel I’ve got back, so it means a lot to me,” Ma said. Reaching the news is her last attempt at solving a costly mystery: How did someone cash her a check for $41,530.06?

“I’m just going to sit around and do nothing,” Ma said. So he spoke to the police and filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“I sent a message—a LinkedIn message—to the CEO of BMO Harris Bank,” Ma said. It was worth a try because BMO Harris Bank is where his troubles started.

On June 16, he closed his checking and savings accounts. The balance amount was to be sent to him through cashier’s check through mail.

“I got my first check on June 22,” Ma said. The check was for about $2,000 from her savings, but weeks passed with no matching checks in her checking account. So he called BMO Harris.

“The agent said my check was already cashed out,” said Ma, who swears it wasn’t cashed by him.

“I was shocked,” she said. “How did this happen to me? I thought it was something you saw on TV.”

The bankers showed Ma a copy of the cashier’s check. Ma said it was not a signature on his back and saw something else.

“My first name is Jing. And if you look at that check, it’s written like Jiang, so I didn’t even have a name,” she said.

Ma said bank investigators have suggested sticky fingers during transit may be to blame — mail theft. United States Postal Service inspectors made more than 1,500 postal theft arrests in a single year across the country.

Mom doesn’t buy it.

“The neighborhood I live in is nice and friendly. No one will go through the mail box,” she said.

Whatever happened, on the same day that CBS2 reached out to BMO Harris, Ma was issued a replacement check.

“I’m very relieved,” she told us in a follow-up interview outside the bank.

So what?

And why was Ma a success until CBS2 got involved?

BMO Harris would say no.

We know that anyone who found a cashier’s check took it to a Chase Bank branch.

Chase would not say why he accepted it.

Here is the official statement from BMO Harris:

“We are committed to working with our customers to help keep them safe from financial crime such as check fraud. We are in contact with our customers to resolve this matter, and will keep you updated with their checks. To help keep you safe from financial crime, as a general reminder: Never contact BMO Harris via unsolicited email, text or phone call asking for sensitive information, passwords or PINs If you receive a call, voicemail, email or text from someone claiming to be from BMO Harris and you believe it is suspicious, contact us immediately using the information on the back of your card.”

You can learn more about common scams, red flags to watch for, and 10 tips on how to avoid financial crime at BMO Harris. Website,

And here’s what Chase told us in various emails:

“A customer should always work directly with their bank. A customer can deposit a check in a variety of ways, such as through the phone, at an ATM, or in person. At Chase, we work with other banks. When they contact us. Suspicious investigation. Our team investigated it and here’s what they found: We received a request from BMO Harris to review the situation. Following the procedures for such claims, we Reviewed the matter yesterday. We also replied to BMO Harris yesterday.”

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