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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bank to electric patrons: Pay up

HUDSON

Citizens Bank is contacting Hudson electricity customers asking them to write new checks to replace those mislaid by a courier service.

After Hudson Light and Power Department deposited 579 checks at the Pope Street branch of Citizens Bank last month, they were lost or stolen as they were taken to a processing center.

Yakov Levin, manager of the municipal power department, said that on two occasions, in a letter and an e-mail, the bank referred to the loss as a robbery or theft.

But he added that a thief could not cash the checks because all have a stamp on the back directing that they be deposited in the Hudson Light and Power account.

Levin said Hudson refused the bank's request to provide information about the customers. Asked how the bank was contacting people, Citizens spokesman Mike Jones said, "We have our ways."

The checks were from residential and commercial customers for the mid-July to mid-August billing cycle. Levin would not disclose the amounts involved.

The power department has warned customers to alert their own banks to watch for efforts to siphon off money using stolen account numbers. No instances of fraud have been reported.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

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