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updated: 6/13/2014 3:03 PM

Crystal Lake man admits guilt in money order scam

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Daily Herald report

A 47-year-old Crystal Lake man pleaded guilty Friday to federal mail fraud charges stemming from a counterfeit money order scheme.

Michael S. Mackay, 47, admitted in court that during the course of the nearly yearlong scam he received at least $2.5 million in counterfeit money orders that netted him roughly $10,000, prosecutors said. Mackay told authorities he received the counterfeit documents from New York and Africa.

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In a news release, the U.S. Attorney's office said Mackay placed Internet ads offering "work-at-home" opportunities. Those who responded were sent instructions on how to be a "secret shopper" and were given counterfeit money orders. Mackay's victims were told to go to their financial institution and deposit the money orders. They were allowed to keep a percentage themselves and wire transfer the remainder at the nearest Western Union.

The victims, believing they were hired to evaluate local businesses, then were asked to report on their experiences.

Mackay faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing slated for Sept. 19.

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