2011-08-19 / Top Stories

Check Cashing Accounts Seized By Feds

By Nicholas Briano

Belair Check Cashing has been closed since the beginning of August. Belair Check Cashing has been closed since the beginning of August. A popular check cashing destination for Rockaway residents has been closed since the beginning of August after the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York seized Belair Payroll Services’ operating bank accounts, pending an investigation into alleged fraudulent activities. The check cashing location at 87-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, as well as three other locations throughout Queens owned by Belair Payroll Services, had their licenses suspended by the New York State Banking Department after being accused of engaging in activities that violate the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, which was passed in 1970 to prevent money laundering.

The accusations involve alleged fraudulent and false information contained in Currency Transaction Reports which are required under law to be filed with the IRS every time a currency exchange occurs between Belair and a customer in excess of $10,000. It is still unknown exactly what was fraudulent or false about the reports.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice had no comment. “We have no comment as this is an active investigation,” Department of Justice spokesperson Robert Nardoza said this week.

Under the law, financial institutions must also treat separate transactions by the same person which exceed $10,000 within a single business day as one total transaction. When a financial institution fails to comply, it could be found in violation of the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act.

According to documents from the New York State Banking Department, they have the right to suspend the license of Belair for up to 90 days while it is investigated by the U.S. Attorney for suspected activities that put the public’s interest at risk.

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