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Postal inspectors discover bank scheme that stole $34 million

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Robert Saks is behind bars for orchestrating an international bank fraud scheme that stole $34 million. At the heart of the scam was a "lead list" that included bank customer names and account information.

"They were using the list to charge and withdraw amounts from the consumers` bank account without their knowledge," U.S. Postal Inspector Daniel Forrester said.

Postal inspectors determined Saks and 15 others withdrew funds from over 100,000 accounts -- mostly small amounts, to avoid suspicion.

"The maximum amount we found was $299. But, there were smaller amounts, some less than $100 - $59 dollars and a person may not have challenged them," Forrester said.

Unlocking the case required an extensive accounting review.

"We examined hundreds of bank account records and we were able to piece together the elaborate conspiracy that it was," Forrester said.

As inspectors prepared for trial, they created a chart, laying out the case. In all, 17 people were charged.

"The 'lay of the land' main principle, the people they worked under, how many accounts were involved and the flow of money," Forrester said.

Inspectors say always check your bank account. In this case, many consumers got money back.

"Consumers could challenge the charge and if they can`t verify it - they will reverse it.  Consumer law says you have 60 days to challenge a claim," Forrester said.

Saks is currently serving a 17-year prison sentence.

The other 15 co-conspirators pleaded guilty for their participation in the conspiracy.

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