Caren Ware's Blog

May 15, 2011

RIPPED OFF!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 7:04 pm


I knew something was wrong. I signed up to view my check images online and had a CFO start the process of upgrading my books. Within twenty minutes of his first day he asked me to come back in the office. He asked me to sit down. He then scrolled me through forged check after forged check. I tried to shake the disbelief out of my head. I had so diligently attached my personal savings to the business account so that none of my worker’s stipend checks would bounce even if one of my event clients wrote me a hot one. These checks were written out to one of our event day workers, but in no way were they signed by a designated business signature. They had been forged and randomly deposited throughout the year as to not be suspected. A search warrant revealed that the checks were being deposited and cashed by that worker. He was arrested. The bank uncovered 69 fraudulent checks ranging in amount of $150 TO $495. BOFA declared themselves not liable.

Going to a conviction trial for someone you esteemed, trusted, endeared, and valued as a friend more than a worker was disconcerting to say the least. I had to fly back from an event. I was grounded in an electrical storm long enough for the entire Denver Airport to start missing their connections. To make the early
morning trial time I had to divert to Orange County, arriving well after mid-night, and only found my luggage two days later in Ontario.

I parked far from the packed county courthouse building. Outside the building I lined up with all the others to have our bodies and purses inspected for weapons. I was directed to the fourth floor. The halls were packed. Victims or perpetrators? How could you tell? I started to gasp and felt the, luckily seldom, feeling of my wind passages being squeezed shut. I was having an asthma attack. I turned to the wall. Blocking everyone out I took slow deliberate breaths. Calm down I screamed inside. Panicking only makes it worse. It took a long time, but by the time ‘WARE’ was called I wasn’t searching for breathes. In fact I didn’t care to breath any more. The grief of the whole year was rushing in like a tsunami. No amount of ‘calm down’ words would ward this off.

I had no answer to the DA as to why other members of my family did not come. No one showed up, but me. When the judge asked me to speak louder. My voice sucked in deeper. That life elephant on my chest was just too big for anything, but a whisper. It was all too much and when asked to remain until the sentencing, my emotional tsunami overtook me and pulled me right under with the menace to drown. Tears landed all over the paperwork as the orange, jump suit row of inmates, cuffed at the hands and feet, blurred. So did the nicely dressed, handsome fellow next to me who used to be one of my best event day workers. As well as, his efficient, petite and impressive female attorney. Only the judge was left clear as he sat bull’s eye to water filled eyes. I wasn’t prepared for this. I remained until properly excused and bolted for the car nearly knocking over a judge or some high official. His comment. “You will find the door soon enough to get out of here. I will not. I walk these halls day in and day out.” This was beginning to feel like a horror movie.
So the call that came in the car as I could not muster to drive away was equally hard and just as robbing. It was that ‘voice’ I had so candidly blogged about that helped me mileage to my first continent marathon over a year ago. He needed some event advice and proceeded to share that he had just spent a delightful year of courtship and married that girl he ‘met’ at the expo. I was already drowning and only heard a garbled voice talking about the dance floor built over his pool and the amazing toast as I sank to the bottom. My year had been not do delightful. I was paying lots of consequences.
So did I pop back up? Yes, of course. I’m an athlete and I have taught myself how to swim. But more so because of true friendship. The buoyancy came from some great people in my life and God’s grace. That’s the story worth sharing, but can’t quite yet.
So did theft stop there? Absolutely not. I have never had so many petty incidences since then. Is it living in a bad economy in a poor county? Or just opportunists? Check this out. All have happened in the past two weeks.
1. Gas purchased at a station that claimed the machine was down took the swiped image of the credit card and starting charging $75 to $90 a week on that card number.
2. Purse stolen out of shopping cart when putting groceries in the car.
3. The 2012 stickers carefully knifed off the vehicles and used to put on …. a car that some owner
Doesn’t want to pay the DMV fees? Who would think?
4. Gas siphoned out of a van that holds over 30 gallons while parked out in front of its own office
5. A mailbox…entire commercial unit mailbox, ripped from its base and hauled off on a Saturday evening and second party checks business checks being allowed by banks to be cashed.

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