State officials link check-cashing scam to Latvia

Officials in at least three U.S. states are warning consumers about an international check-cashing scam tied to an apparently fake software company in Latvia preying on online job seekers.

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe joined other state officials Aug. 15 in warning consumers about Void Computers Inc., a supposed Latvian company that has recruited its victims on the popular job-seeking Internet portal CareerBuilder.com.

Individuals contacted through the job portal have been told that Void Computers needs help cashing invoice payment checks issued by the State of Arkansas, one of the company’s supposed clients. Once they agree to become Void’s agents, the individuals have been mailed the checks, in some cases from Turkey, and have been asked to cash them and then wire the money to an account in Latvia. For their services, the individuals are allowed to keep 10 percent of the value of the check.

“These scam artists are using Arkansas’ name to commit their crime,” Beebe said in a press statement. “Our state agencies will continue to investigate and trace these checks to put a stop to this activity.”

Arkansas State Auditor Jim Wood said the checks from his state all bear the same warrant number, 05I-0614300, which originally was for an income tax refund mailed to California. The checks have been for amounts of USD 2,400 and USD 2,800. Individuals who have received the checks have been told by Void Computers to avoid banks, but to cash the checks at liquor stores, check-cashers and other businesses.

While Arkansas has not lost any money in the scheme, the individuals tricked in the scam in some cases now owe their local banks thousands of dollars.

Messages posted on the anti-scam Web sites Scam.com and 419eaters.com report that individuals who sought jobs through CareerBuilder.com have received e-mail from someone named John Johnson, who claims to work for the Rīga-based software company Void Computers Inc. In the e-mail, he states Void Computers is insured by a company named Latgost, supposedly Latvia’s largest insurance company.

Latvia’s business registry has no listing for either Void Computers or Latgost.

The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office said the forged checks have turned up in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

One of the earliest warnings about the scheme came from Connecticut Banking Commissioner John P.  Burke, who on July 19 warned his state’s consumers about the scam. Following Arkansas’ warning, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett issued a similar message to his state’s consumers on Aug. 16.

American consumer advocate David Horowitz also has mentioned the scam on his Web site, www.fightback.com.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

35 thoughts on “State officials link check-cashing scam to Latvia

  1. They’ve changed their name to “Latvian IT”, which looks like
    it might be the name of a valid company, but have created a
    phony website (one of their “officers” is named “Cyber Guru”

  2. All hail the conqueror. Take out the trash and pulp the cheques. Oh yeah, it’s 419EATER.COM not 419EATERS.COM (which some pesky cyber-sitter has gotten hold of)

  3. re: Microlabs Corp.

    Some checks are being drafted from Georgetown, Tx in name of Adkins Reproduction Lighting, checks arrive from Turkey. Email instructions to be sent to a Igors Kolenko, Riga, Latvia via Western Union.

  4. I have been contacted by Microlabs and a company called German IT Corporation for this check cashing deal. Both found me through CareerBuilder.com. I agreed to work with German IT Corporation but have not started. I e-mailed them back to cancel the agreement once I found this website Fraud-Scam warning. They both said that software was their product.
    If I can help , please contact me at the above e-mail address.

  5. I think the named changed again to smart executives. I looked this up on monstertrak.com and sounded too good to be true. they want me to give my bank info so they can do wire transfer to me and then i wire it back to Latvia. his name is stanislav rynkun. is this fake?

  6. I got it from:

    “Grzegorz Urbanski” ostensibly from “German Sun Ltd”. 3 checks came to me postmarked from Latavia but drawn on a VA, USA account – my contact came from careerbuilder.com as well

  7. P.S. I was to send the proceeds to:

    first name: A L E X E Y
    last name: S V I R I D E N K O V
    Country: Russia
    City: St.Petersburg
    Address: Mira street, house 15

    I hope this helps someone track this scum down!

  8. They have changed there name once again to http://www.idol-on-com.net as a TV show manager promoting now a joint project with Korea Children And Youth Foundation (KCYF). This is what they ask you to do:
    1)Cash checks in the United States territory.
    2) You leave 7% from the amount of money as your commission
    3) The rest of the money you should send to Korea as we teach you
    4) Transfer fee from USA to Korea should be payed from the sum you
    receive after you chas the check
    5) If you cash the check in Fast Cashers your commission will come from
    the sum after check was cashed
    With a return email address of support@idol-on-com.net

  9. I recieved 2 checks in the mail. postmarked from latvijas on 1/12/05 both for 1450.00 no note or anything I took them to my bank and there was a red flag they told me to go to the police. the funny thing is that the names on the checks are Francisco l espada and Lina Martinez 15328 77n #100 Miami Fl 33193 Bank Wschovif, N,A company EUROVENTURES. and I also was contacted through careerbuilder.com

  10. I also recieved checks in the mail from the afformentioned Euroventure Capital. Three of them in the amount of $999.00. I realize these people need to be stopped, but is it worth my time to notify the authorities. It all seems quite pointless.

  11. I received an email from Euro Venture Capital. At first I wasn’t sure if they were ligit or not. They sent me two checks each in the amout of $1,800.00. With instructions to go cash the checks and then send the money Western Union. Unfortunately they have my name and address. Should I have given them my name. Anyway I am not sure what I’m going to do with the checks probalble throw them away.

  12. Now the Name is Euroventures
    Sent to Moscow in the Russian Federation
    Ksenia Zheltyakova,who winds up sick and in the
    Hospital,but another person it can be sent to is
    named Olga,threats of involving the Authorities
    come soon thereafter.
    Involve the Authorities ASAP
    These are some scamming momzers.
    thankfully Western Union refused it,and most of
    the money was able to be recovered,only out 75 dollars
    compared to nearly 3000 truly a blessing

  13. I got a check in the mail today. I checked out the address of the company on the check and it is legit. Guess what? I even checked their company on the web and it does exist! The question is, how can careerbuilder.com allow these kinds of people to surf their website without verifying if these so-called “employers” are legit?

  14. I too was sent an email after these guys found me on careerbuilder. I checked everything out as well (I thought) and everything seemed legit. I received one check for $6,829.00 from Peter Port and his company, Port Abstract Inc. of Garden City, N.Y. I was to send all but 10% to a GALLYAMOV RAMIS in Istanbul, Turkey. I (now) know someone else who was scammed by them and cashed the check and went through the process, any words of advise for him?

  15. Thank you for this site. I read Tina’s comment re: sending $$ to GALLYAMOV RAMIS in Istanbul Turkey. That was the name I was given to send $$ to also.
    Many of us need to make extra $ and would gladly do it on our “home time”=extra time beyond our regular full time jobs.
    I was duped in needing the $$ but felt uneasy about dealing with a country other than ours, esp Turkey!
    I have posted my resume on Careers.com – I had no idea why I received checks in my name for $4788.00!!! When I first inquired “who are you and why did you send these checks?” I got a NASTY e-mail back saying “We hired you as an agent based on your qualifications and integrity. If you don’t comply, we will contact government authorities”.
    Get a Western Union 10 digit id and send $ to GALLYAMOV= etc.
    When I asked for a website to investigate their corporation, I got something very fancy-it even included a picture of the person sending me e-mails. BE WARNED, IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!!!!!!!!!!
    It’s a shame, we are hard working people just looking for honest extra money to make ends meet.
    Be smart and best wishes!

  16. Now this Grzegorz urbanski (among many other names) are/is attempting to get me to purchace an account on career builder for them as an employer when I am seeking employment. they took my resume info to contact me. They are claiming affiliation with UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES OF EUROPE. Underwriters is legit, but their affililiation most likely isn’t, as I came across this site by googling Urbanski’s name, also used as an i.e. for “phishing scams” alert on career builder.

  17. Glad I just found this information site, and yes, this Mr. Urbanski contacted me today to my careerbuilder.com resume and personal employment details there. This makes me sick!

    In my former consulting biz we uncovered so many scams both in and out of the USA geared toward exploiting business deals and innocent unknowing people all the same. This company “Underwriters Laboratories, Inc” is a real US products testing laboratory and that is all it is! NOT a Latvia company and no other relationships outside of the USA. How UL can allow their name now used in money laundering scams like this also surprises me…

    How the hell can careerbuilder.com allow a supposed employer to register when it violates the private information of millions of employees who list their private information on their site? The scam artists and their cells we have found are more sophisticated and smarter than ever and very educated people.

    I have also seen a huge surge this year already in 3rd party re-seller firms of financial products who mislead people for management jobs, etc. while all the time they are not the insurnace provider and expect you to invest to build your own client base and receive commission payment only.

  18. I recieved $35,900 (4 checks @ $8,975.00 each) all in one day, in two envelopes. The thought of tucking 10% into my pocket…nearly $4,000…was way too good to be true, of course!

    The e-capital website was incomplete and suspicious looking to me so
    I asked my husband what he thought…he said don’t do it, it’s a scam.

    I started looking for more information. I found “Port Abstract, Garden City, NY and Worldpak Flexible Packaging LLC, Reno, NV” (payors on the checks) online, and was even more concerned. Then I found this sight, thankfully!

    Thanks to all of you for telling your stories!

    The company that contacted me through careerbuider.com is E-capital, Fund of Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, and is using the Underwriters Lab logo on their contract.

    The following addresses were referenced in emails to me: manager@the-ecapital.com
    http://www.the-ecapital.com
    admin@the-ecapital.com
    http://www.the-ecapital.com
    admin1@the-ecapit-sales.com help.ecapital@yahoo.com

    The checks were post marked Turkey and cash is to be remitted to:

    First name – FOZAIL
    Last name – GAZIZOV
    Country – RUSSIAN FEDERATION
    City – MOSCOW

  19. I rec a chk Friday from Port abstract in NY for $7,982. It was nothing in the envelope but the check. The check was dated March 11. I depostited in my checking acct through ATM on the 11th, which was a Sat. If it is a scam, I guess they will take the money out of my acct. I am just going to let it sit there. Any suggestions. I have not gotten anything to send any money to anyone. If anyone knows or rec a similar chk like that, email me spoilbrat@email.uophx.edu Why would anyone want to do something like that? I am thinking I won a sweepstakes or something to that matter.

  20. I’ve been had too…I rcvd 2 cks in the amt of 8975.00 each from E-Capital out of Turkey. They were drawn on U.S banks in NV and NY, of course when they are cashed the were returned with Refer to Maker on them…So instead of receiving the 10% commission, I am bill a return check fee by my bank…Heck of a deal..makes me want to try this again..lol…I received the same information as did susan…I really do wish I would have know of this earlier….It would have saved me a heck of a lot of trouble…Hopefully they nab the bastards that are doing this…

  21. Hey Guys,

    I received two checks just like Linda on Friday with no letter and have tried to contact the companies WorldPak and Port Abstract. I’ve even contacted the banks where they are from Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase and all they could tell me was that the account numbers are for a real account. Please help you guys. I don’t want to end up on a terrorist list with the FBI for a work-at-home scam. I am afraid. If you have anything to say about this just email me and I’ll give you an update on what I find too!

  22. I Received Two Checks Yesterday, March 14, with no letter and tried to contact the companie on the checks “Port Abstract” and “Quality Homes LLC,”. The “Port Abstract” Check for $7892.00 is written on JP Morgan Chase Bank, Which currently on Career builder with jobs for finance . And Wells Fargo. The Wells Fargo Check howerver has no routing number. Under the bank name, That is red flag #1. The checks are both signed in wet ink. Therefore there are probably finger prints. No Sweepstakes just someone looking for your bank info on return checks so they can steal your identity. Luckily, I understand that money never comes that easy. My checks were post marked from Latvijas. They don’t need 10% When they can steal your Identity from the info on there returned check. Driver License # and Signature. You already gave them your address. Plus bank Info

  23. I recieved two checks for $7892 one from Port Abstract the other from Classic Dental in AZ. Never agreed to any 10% deal I guess they just wanted my banking information. Never cashed them, I’ve just shared them with friends to show what kind of scams you can get involved in when your information is on line.

  24. Update…..I wrote void across the face of the checks and have kept them just in case I need to take legal action. I was threatened by emails with legal action being taken against me if I did not forward the money as requested. After about three emails to them letting them know that I am not participating and would take legal action against them, the emails stopped coming. Good luck to all and I hope they get what they deserve!

  25. Hi Susan,

    Please do me a favor and post all email communications you exchange with these scumbags on http://www.scamfraudalert.com Information like that do help other victims and educate the public.

    I am glad you were smart enough to do due diligence.

    Sincerely,

    ScamFraudAlert

  26. darn it! i should have known this..i came across an advert on mycareer(an OZ job site) and i reply to them. they appointed me as their financial agent and juz yesterday i realized of all these scam. i am due to get 5000AUD on my account tomorrow! and they asked me to send it by moneygrams. i juz read about it yesterday that whoever sent the money to me will realize that they were being scammed and request chargeback to me..i’ll be screwed then..but what am i suppose to do then?someone..plz help me..hope can get the answer by tonight..PLZ!

  27. Hello to all

    I ran into almost the identical situation that “Susan” did. The check quantities were for $8,975.00 each. Like all of you, it seemed to good to be true. One of the companies, WorldPak Flexible Packaging LLC seems to be “legit”. Like Susan, I have written “VOIDED” on each check and have them for possible future legal action.

  28. Looks like another scam, same idea, different company front. This one also from careerbuilder and company is healthcare international, even has a website: http://healthcare-inc.info Legit business front but prop just for this cash checking scam. From what I’ve read from these posts the person will get stuck with covering the false check after wiring real cash. So thanks to this site for the info and got these from careerbuilders before but this is first time I checked up on it. The false business is quite accurate even sending business info. So this answers all these questions, figured it was money laundering in some sort of way but from the way these stories tell it’s nothing more than getting stuck with a bad check cashed in on your name.

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