Fact Check

Disappearing Ink on Check

A pair of scammers attempted to pass checks written in disappearing ink?

Published Oct. 21, 2010


Claim:   A pair of scammers attempted to pass checks written in disappearing ink.


Origins:   Criminals often think they're smarter than they are. In this particular tale, we'll look at the escapade of two such individuals who thought they'd come up with a foolproof fraud scheme.

In 1996, a couple of Indiana teenagers believed they'd hit upon an unbeatable system for hanging bad paper: they would inscribe checks

to merchants in disappearing ink; by the time these financial instruments reached their bank, they'd be blank and thus uncollectible.

Five merchants reported receiving $2,000 in checks written in purple ink that soon faded before their eyes. The scheme looked like it was off to a good start.

However, the master plan did not take into account that the act of writing leaves marks upon a check in the form of indentations, or that the missing ink can be "raised" by various processes performed at crime labs. The blank fields therefore weren't blank at all.

It also didn't help that the checks used by the felonious pair were pre-printed with the name and account number of one of them.

The two 19-year-olds, Jeffrey J. Pyrcioch and Heather M. Green, were arrested on suspicion of fraud and theft.

Barbara "vanishing creamed" Mikkelson

Last updated:   21 October 2010


    Associated Press.   "Permanently Printed Name Gives Away Disappearing-Ink Check Writer."

    1 June 1996.