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Owner of Portland restaurant Mother's Bistro targeted in check fraud scam

Someone stole over $800 from Mother's Bistro Restaurant and Bar by cashing fraudulent checks. The owner says its bank refuses to help them get the money back.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The owner of Mother’s Bistro and Bar in downtown Portland has been in a battle with her bank for the past several months after she was the target of check fraud. She lost more than $800 and said her bank claimed they couldn’t do anything about it.

Lisa Schroeder has been running her restaurant for more than 20 years and knows how stressful it can be to run a business, let alone a restaurant. Now for almost six months she’s been dealing with check fraud, after someone cashed three different checks at local grocery stores last summer. The checks didn’t have her name on them, but they did have her account number on them.

"Somehow, they got our check number and printed up checks," Schroeder said. "Not only did they get used at stores, but then my bank let them go through."

She had no idea about the fraudulent checks until weeks after when she got her bank statement, but by then it was too late. Schroeder said they don’t get their bank statements until the middle of the month and that’s when her bookkeeper noticed those weren’t their checks.

Chase Bank refused to refund her money because they were notified 30 days after the checks were written, Schroeder said. After trying to get in touch with a representative with the bank, she received a letter from them saying that the bank was denying her request.

Ken Westin, a security expert with Panther, said there are ways to protect yourself in these situations, including setting up alerts.

"Sometimes in these cases, especially if you have been a target in these scams, you're going to want to change your account number because odds are they are going to repeat if they have additional checks," Westin said.

Even though the bank has already told Schroeder she's not getting any money back, she said she's not giving up on getting her money back.

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