3 On Your Side

Mesa woman becomes victim of MoneyGram fraud

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Jo Ricker has a passion for Harley Davidsons.

"I've been riding for almost 20 years."

She loves them so much that she got a job at a Valley Harley-Davidson dealership.

"I work in motor clothes sales, so I help with everything from boots to helmets and jackets and t-shirts, and all those fun things people wear that Harley-Davidson is known for."

But this Mesa resident says she feels like she's being taken for a ride when she bought a money order from MoneyGram, a money transfer company.


After getting a MoneyGram for $304, Ricker mailed it out but it never went into the hands of the person it was intended for.

That's because it was stolen from a mailbox located near Sweetwater Avenue and Cave Creek Road. And get this: the thief who stole it actually used a thick black marker and put his name on the MoneyGram.

"He clearly wrote over somebody's else's name that was originally put on there."

On the back of the MoneyGram it states "This Money Order will not be paid if it has been forged, altered or stolen." But despite that warning, Ricker says the thief successfully cashed the $304 money order.

"What’s funny is they even wrote over my name with their little pen and then they signed it on the back and the ink even leaked through when they made it out to themselves. It's just crazy."

Ricker contacted MoneyGram and was told she had to pay $18 for a copy of the cashed MoneyGram and another $35 for them to open an investigation, which they did.

She also filled out an affidavit explaining she's a victim, but MoneyGram said it could take 120 days for a refund, if she got anything at all. Remember, this has been going on since February with no resolution.

3 On Your Side got involved and after speaking with MoneyGram, the company agreed to return $304 to Ricker.

Ricker says she appreciates that, but being a theft victim, she says she's a little disappointed it's taken seven months and assistance from 3 On Your Side to make that refund happen.

"I want my money back. Legitimately, this says I paid for something and it was stolen fraudulently, and they say we'll reimburse you. I want their apology and I want my money back."

A big thank you to MoneyGram. They didn't tell us how or why the fraudulent MoneyGram slipped through, but they are issuing a $304 refund and we appreciate that.

MoneyGram provided 3 On Your Side the following statement:

“Our investigation shows that Ms. Ricker’s money order was forged and the fraud was not detected by the person or persons who cashed the money order.  MoneyGram has contacted Ms. Ricker and informed her that we have expedited the refund process so she will receive her refund very soon. MoneyGram wants to remind all consumers that once money orders are purchased, they should be treated like cash and sent or delivered to the receiver in the most secure manner possible.”   

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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