BANKS: Now You See It . . .

Now You See It . . .

Bank checks have been known to bounce. But disintegrate? Several banks, including at least two in Illinois and one in Tennessee, have unwittingly accepted checks coated with a chemical that made them begin to deteriorate within hours after being deposited. In a few days they were little more than confetti. One or more unidentified scam artists have passed at least 14 such checks, cheating the banks out of some $70,000.

In one case a customer, apparently using a fictitious name, opened an account at Chicago's Northern Trust Bank and later deposited a $4,000 check drawn on an out-of-state bank. The customer...

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