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-Sully-Miller Tackles Check Fraud with inFORM Decisions iSeries Positive Pay
Irvine, CA, September 22, 2003: Sully-Miller Contracting Company, one of California’s largest road builders has licensed inFORM Decision’s iSeries Positive Pay™ to curb check fraud since hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks, including ones issued for payroll, have been passed in Sully-Miller’s name. Counterfeits are immediately rejected and reported because iSeries Positive Pay validates every Sully-Miller check individually.
In part, Sully-Miller selected inFORM’s iSeries Positive for its ability to run with minimal input from a technician, as only two people staff their IT department. Their employees, who number between 400 and 500, get paid weekly in accordance with labor union guidelines. Since inFORM’s iSeries Positive Pay is highly automated, “No one has to remember to do something,” says Marcella Wilson, Sully-Miller’s Manager of IT. A list of valid payees and amounts is automatically transmitted to the bank via Bisync or FTP at scheduled intervals. Aside from the product’s functionality, Wilson adds, “The price was very reasonable.” iSeries Positive Pay can be licensed for any iSeries-AS/400 model/processor configuration for $3,000.
Sully Miller has had several bouts with check fraud. Recently, they were hit with over $100,000 dollars in bad checks, thought by authorities to have generated by a well-organized, offshore check fraud ring. “I don’t believe they actually ever saw one of our checks, they just had an account number,” Says Wilson. Another incident involved several boxes of blank checks taken during the burglary of a satellite office.
Check fraud is increasingly straining the profitability of businesses. In 1999 an estimate of the losses exceeded $15 billion. Inexpensive and readily accessible laser printers, scanners and desktop publishing software have become common tools of the trade. Experts say high-speed processing equipment used to clear checks contributes to the problem too, as they are incapable of discerning sophisticated counterfeit checks from real ones.
iSeries Positive Pay runs on Sully-Miller’s IBM AS/400 model 720, 206b, also used to host a detail job costing system used to bid and control jobs. Job Costing is fully integrated with an in-house accounting system that lets the contractor validate payroll against job costing on a line-by-line basis. This integration forces Sully Miller to process payroll internally rather than delegating it to an outside vendor like ADP.
iSeries Positive Pay extracts check numbers and check amounts from Sully-Millers AS/400 based check writing system, formats the information to suite bank requirements, adds a header and then passes this report to their bank at scheduled intervals. The bank can then compare this authorization file against the checks that are submitted for payment. If a correlation is made between the check number and amount, the check gets paid. If the check number is not on the list or the amount is incorrect, it is rejected and a report is immediately sent to Sully-Miller. iSeries Positive Pay technology also eliminates posting and encoding errors.
iSeries Positive Pay also protects Sully-Miller against fraud that originates internally.
If bogus Positive Pay reports are created and sent to the bank to conceal fraudulent payments, the liability for the ensuing loss falls on Sully-Miller according to U.C.C. rules. iSeries Positive Pay is designed to limit transmitted reports to those generated automatically by payroll jobs. Ad hoc reports initiated by a tightly controlled group of internal users also limits exposure.
According to Dan Forster, President of inFORM Decisions, “The liability resulting from check fraud is now shouldered by either the merchant or the bank, depending on who is deemed negligent by law.” Changes to the Universal Commercial Code have made "negligence" and "ordinary care" conditions for liability. Banks usually absorbed these losses prior to changes in the code.
Today Sully-Miller uses inFORM’s iSeries Positive Pay for payroll checks, though Wilson says she will soon roll it into their AP system too. “AP checks are cut everyday,” she adds. Recently, the bank servicing Sully-Miller’s Accounts Payables reported that 10 counterfeit checks, all bearing the same check number and amount were submitted for payment in different cities throughout the country.
inFORM Decisions’ iSeries Positive Pay is one component in the company’s secure eBanking solutions suite. iSeries Positive Pay integrates with any automated check writing software product including inFORM’s iChecks™ solution.
For a free 30-day evaluation copy of iSeries Positive Pay, call inFORM Decisions at (800) 858- 5544. You can also download a trial copy from www.informdecisions.com
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