NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The number of businesses impacted by the fraudulent JS Johnson cheque scheme is now in the “double digits”, financial crimes investigators revealed yesterday, with a local fraud expert urging businesses to discontinue the use of cheques.
Detective Sergeant Jared Turnquest of the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit, while speaking at a Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Crime Prevention Blitz via Zoom, said: “Right now, the number of businesses affected are in the double digits. More and more businesses have been contacting us. What we have started doing is reaching out to businesses we feel would be affected by this. By taking that proactive approach, we were able to identify a few businesses that were contacted and the fraudulent transaction was averted.”
According to Turnquest, fraudsters used JS Johnson cheques to pay for merchandise at various establishments.
“The culprit would call into the business establishment and request a quote for merchandise. The business would then draft a quote or invoice the following day or within a day or two. The customer or culprit would present a fraudulent JS Johnson cheque typed in the name of the business establishment with the name already typed in and in an amount quoted to them the day before. After that, the merchandise is then loaded onto a vehicle and taken away,” said Turnquest.
Kendrick Christie, managing partner of K Christie and Co and CEO of AFA Consultants Limited, told Eyewitness News that these latest incidents of fraud further underscore the need for businesses to move away from utilizing cheques.
“I will loudly proclaim that we should move quickly away from the usage of cheques,” said Christie.
He noted that cheque usage is outdated and highly susceptible to fraud. He urged businesses to embrace the usage of digital wallets and electronic forms of payment.
“We need to move to electronic transfer of payments, digital wallets and cryptocurrency,” said Christie. “The elimination of cheques gives one the true cash positions of a company at any one point and is beneficial to vendors.”