State regulators issued a public warning Tuesday concerning some phony cash certificates issued by a Moab company whose address turned out to be nothing more than a mail drop.
Last week, the Utah Securities Division began getting calls from people who had received a letter from Armbruster-Slemmer & Associates of Moab, which claimed to be a locator service representing a Utah corporation that was said to be trying to locate owners of "Series AA Corporate Monetary Certificates."Enclosed with the letter was a copy of a "corporate monetary certificate," in their name, from J&L Technologies Inc., also said to be a Moab company.
The certificate had a sticker affixed to it stating "fees due" that partially covered up the amount the certificate was worth. The placement was crucial to the scam.
"On each certificate we've instpected, the sticker was strategically placed to cover a decimal point," said the division's Mike Hines. "To the casual observer, the certificate looks like it's made out in the amount of $200. But under the sticker it's really $2.00," said Hines.
The letter instructed the recipients to send in "transfer fees" of $23.55, which is $21.55 more than the certificate is worth.
"This kind of con has come to be known as an `advance fee scheme,"' said Doug Borba, division executive director, who noted that there is no such instrument as a "corporate monetary certificate."
"You send in your money thinking you've got a windfall. In reality, you've purchased nothing."
Moab police confirmed that "Armbruster-Slemmer" and "J&L Technologies" have common ownership and that the address was a mail drop.
No charges have yet been filed, but the division is continuing to investigate.