CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — One Champaign business owner said he lost $250,000 and many company credit cards and believes the problem started with check washing.

“These totaled over $250,000 worth of checks. One of the checks was six figures,” Parham Parastaran, CEO of Left Lane Auto, said. “A check that was written to a certain vendor, they changed it and brought it to a corporation.”

He said that started back in January and didn’t end there. A month later, he got a call from his office. They told him there were charges on credit cards, but the managers said they never received their new cards, to begin with.

Parastaran said he ordered 10 company American Express cards but didn’t get them in the mail to distribute to his employees.

“It went to the Post Office around here, and it was taken,” he added.

He said the person activated the cards and spent $15,000 at stores like CVS and Shoe Carnival in Champaign.

A month goes by, and the theft issues started to involve car dealerships and his wife, Jennifer.

“Luckily, we got a call from a dealership that recognized her name,” Parastaran said. “There was a person there with an Illinois driver’s license that had all of my wife’s information on it. Including social security number, date of birth, all those things on it.”

He said that person went to three different dealerships in Central Illinois, filled out three different reports and tried to buy cars.

Parastaran said he reported everything to the police but is worried it’ll keep happening. He wants the crimes taken more seriously with more severity.

To make sure it doesn’t keep happening to him, he said his company is changing the way they do business.

“One of the things is we hardly ever send out checks anymore. We’re just trying to eliminate anything that goes out in the mail,” Parastaran said.

He also wants businesses to add more precautions at checkout, like asking for an ID when people are spending large amounts of money.

Parastaran said he’s working with police to find answers as well. WCIA reached out to Champaign Police but has not heard back yet.

WCIA reached out to the U.S. Postal Inspection service too. An official said an inspector will get in contact with the family to follow up and learn more.

Check washing and mail theft have happened before. To prevent it from happening to you, USPIS has tips on its website.