Florida the Rules are different here Chapter CXLIV
Employers in Florida passing off bad checks on employees is hardly news. It's happened to my sister-in-law, who when she complained to a nursing supervisor, was then threatened with having immigration sicd on her. How very nice, a threat of a lawyer getting involved got the threats stopped. Except the employer tried to pass another bad check off to Leonette. The second time, we checked with the bank before depositing it. What some employers will try doing.
Note- My sister-in-law was hired from the Philippines to work as a nurse at a Miami Beach Nursing home for two years. The corporation who wrote Leonette's checks was based out of Illinois.
I digress from what is happening in Orlando at present. United Cities Corp. in addition to paying employees with bogus checks(They had invalid routing numbers, not insufficient funds), its owner Angel Cruz, printed its own currency. "The United States Private Dollar". We're talking six billion dollars worth of funny money. Taking the words 'screw your employees' to a new level. Don't you just love Florida.
Note- I do admit, anyone taking privately issued money, has to be pretty gullible. That doesn't mean this story isn't amusing. Feel free to disagree.
Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Perri Nelson, The World According to Carl,
The federal government is investigating a Kissimmee company for issuing "worthless checks," which its employees have tried to deposit at area banks.
Several employees of United Cities Corp. said they went to work for the company through its nonprofit partner with the promise of great salary and benefits, including a 30-year contract, new car, health insurance and payment of their debts.
The workers received compensation in the form of checks from United Cities, but those checks were rejected as fraudulent by local banks after the employees deposited them.
"They accused me of fraud," said William Feliciano, who worked as a human-resources director at the nonprofit partner, JC Consultores Laborales. "They expelled me from the bank."
An alert sent last week by Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to all national banks and the Federal Reserve said United Cities "has been issuing worthless checks drawn on an unknown entity" by using an invalid routing number.
"These valueless instruments," the alert said, "have been presented for deposit at a number of U.S. banks."
Such alerts warn financial institutions in fraud cases.
"We are telling banks not to cash these things," agency spokesman Kevin Mukri said.
In addition to the checks, Angel Cruz, who owns United Cities, said he intends to issue a new currency -- dubbed "The United States Private Dollar" -- and he has already printed $6 billion worth.
Orlando and Miami officials with the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates counterfeit currency, said a probe of United Cities is under way. U.S. attorney's offices in both cities also are working the case.
"It's currently under investigation," said Jim Glendinning, assistant special agent-in-charge with the Secret Service's Orlando field office.
United Cities and nonprofit officials did not return calls Wednesday for comment on the federal probe, but in previous statements they defended their project.
"This project seeks to strengthen the economy," said Josefina Calderon of Kissimmee, the nonprofit's president.
Employees interviewed by the Sentinel said United Cities recruited more than 30 area Hispanics to provide a range of counseling and clerical services in JC Consultores Laborales. They said they believed in Cruz's plan to launch a new currency that he claimed would rival the U.S. dollar. Cruz said his currency is backed by the assets of a consortium of partners and the future earnings of United Cities' employees. He also touts his plan on his Web site with photos of the currency and a video of the money being manufactured.
"We were able to print over 6 billion dollars of our currency," said Cruz, who blamed banks for blocking his project. "The tellers, the branch managers and some of the agencies are not educated well enough as to know how the Federal Reserve works. . . . We sent information to the president of the United States and every other agency under the sun telling them we were doing this." Already, some of the agency's employees have been burned by their belief in United Cities.
Feliciano, 72, a retired social worker whose duties at the nonprofit include marriage counseling, said he accrued earnings of about $14,000 for 21/2 months' work.
Bank of America froze, and later closed, Feliciano's account after he deposited a paycheck from United Cities. He had to borrow to pay the mortgage on his Kissimmee condo.
Washington Mutual also has rejected checks and frozen accounts, because it considers the checks "fraudulent," spokeswoman Nova Barnett said.
Although there are legal "local currencies" in a few places throughout the U.S., they are usually accepted only by a network of merchants willing to take them -- such as Walt Disney World issuing and taking in "Disney Dollars" at its parks and hotels.
Cruz has said his plan is to take his currency one step further, to mainstream banks and other financial institutions.
So far, however, those who became employees of JC Consultores Laborales and were paid with checks backed by the private dollar have encountered problems with banks, creditors and utilities refusing to honor their checks. Several of those reached said they continue to believe in the project.
After receiving about a dozen payments in checks from United Cities, Kissimmee Utility Authority issued a warning to its customers that they risk having their services shut off if they pay with those checks.
"We know Disney issued currency like this, with the 'Disney Dollars' a while ago," spokesman Chris Gent said. "But everyone knows you can't come and pay your utilities with the Mickey Mouse dollars."