Brian Talbot, of Brisbane forklift dealership Starline Forklifts, has issued a warning to fellow industry dealers, after a man used stolen bank cheques to defraud him of almost $30,000. The fraudster rang Starline Forklifts and, professing to be from Moree, New South Wales, expressed an interest in acquiring two forklifts, which he had picked from the range shown on Starline’s website.
He said his driver would be in Brisbane the following week to pick up the forklifts and pay for them.
As arranged, the driver turned up, equipped with a trailer truck, and they set about the transaction: the driver completed the requisite paperwork, inputting details from a legitimate company, and then paid for the vehicles with a bank guaranteed cheque for $28,600, the exact price. He then left with forklifts, and Talbot went to the bank to deposit the cheque. The shock for Talbot came the following morning, when the bank contacted him and informed him that the cheque had been registered as stolen, and, accordingly, had been ‘dishonoured’ by the CBA. Talbot stated that this issue with the bank was still not resolved, and is due to meet the ombudsman in order to discuss it further.
The two forklifts in question are a Hyster H150F, weighing 7 tons, and a Komatsu FD25-14, weighing 2.5 tons. Talbot states that the Hyster model is rather unusual, as it is configured with the first carriage in front the second, as opposed to the second carriage being on top of the first, which is the more conventional set-up. Talbot is keen for people to be on alert for a both of the vehicles saying:
If you should hear anything of these forklifts, or anyone enquiring about parts for these forklifts, we would appreciate you contacting us straight away.
Talbot also informed both the police and the public that the man who made the initial contact had a Southern English, or London accent, and furthermore, he believes that his given location of Moree, New South Wales, was red herring. This is because he observed that the truck trailer driven by the pick-up man was old, battered and had a flat tyre, leading Talbot to believe that it the forklifts were not destined to go far. Police are attempting to gather CCTV footage, hoping to be able to better identify the truck.
Steven Münchenberg, the chief executive of the ABA (Australian Bankers’ Association), explained that bank cheques are not different form normal cheques, inn regards to the fact that they must be cleared by the bank. This clearance usually takes 3 days, as the system involves hard copy, and is not digitalised. Münchenberg said:
If an individual/merchant needs the funds quickly, a valid cheque can be cleared on the day it is presented at the bank if you ask for a ‘special clearance’ which often attracts a fee.
In fact, bank cheques must be cleared, in order to establish that it is not a forgery, or a stolen cheque as in this case, or subject to court ordained payment restrictions. Münchenberg said:
If an individual is selling a car, for example, you could go to the bank with the purchaser of your car and ask for a special clearance. This means that a valid cheque can be cleared on the day it is presented. Fees apply for this service. Individuals also have the option of transferring funds into their bank accounts through internet banking, which can be quicker than waiting for cheque clearance.