Stolen mail in Houston: Woman tells ABC13 nearly $10,000 worth of mailed checks rewritten and deposited

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A Houston woman has a warning for anyone mailing checks through the United States Postal Service.

Katy Emde said she mailed out 10 checks earlier this year to cover taxes on various properties, but two of those were washed, re-written, and deposited with someone who wasn’t the Harris County Tax Office.

This is known as “check washing,” which means changing the names on the checks and then depositing them for cash.

Emde said she paid those taxes after her bank returned the money but still found it important to bring this story to light.

“Someone’s out there stealing money,” Emde said. “I wanted to get it out there.”

Emde showed ABC13 copies of the two checks that came out to a total of $9,683.69.

She said the checks she showed Eyewitness News were in completely different handwriting, but they kept the dollar amount and her signature the same as they were when she wrote them.

Emde said the bank where the checks were deposited first called her to see if they were authentic. Then, the Harris County Tax Office reached out to her via mail.

RELATED: Did your check go missing? Here’s how to protect your money as reports of mail thefts rise

“The property tax people sent me another bill,” she said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Harris County Tax Office, but they said they don’t currently have a case on this.

Emde said she met with them for a couple of hours and added that they’ve been helpful throughout this process.

ABC13 also reached out to the United States Postal Service but hasn’t heard back since our initial inquiry was forwarded to the United States Postal Inspection Service.

For news updates, follow Chaz Miller on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEE RELATED: 13 Investigates: Houston No. 1 in stolen checks resold on dark web, research shows

13 Investigates found Houston is a hot spot for criminals stealing mail and selling stolen checks on the dark web or online messaging apps.

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