US State Accidentally Sends Out Checks Signed by Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. erroneous / əˈroʊ ni əs / (adj) – wrong or incorrect

    The news website corrected the erroneous detail and apologized to its readers.

  2. automated / ˈɔ təˌmeɪtɪd / (adj) – run or controlled automatically by a computer or other equipment

    The office uses a fully automated system to check employee attendance.

  3. dummy / ˈdʌm i / (adj) – describing an imitation or copy of something that is used as a substitute

    He started a dummy company to cover his illegal business.

  4. void / vɔɪd / (v) – to officially consider something as invalid or not acceptable

    The actor refused to follow his agency’s rules, so his contract was voided.

  5. oversight / ˈoʊ vərˌsaɪt / (n) – a mistake made because of failure to notice something

    What I wrote was incorrect. I apologize for the oversight.


Read the text below.

Rhode Island mistakenly released tax refund checks with the signatures of iconic cartoon character Mickey Mouse and Disney founder Walt Disney.

The state’s Department of Revenue sent out 176 erroneous checks in July with “Mickey Mouse” and “Walt Disney” replacing the names of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and State Controller Peter Keenan on the signature line.

Jade Borgeson [BAWR-gih-suhn], the department’s chief of staff, explained that the mistake was caused by a technical error in the automated refund check printing system. Regular print tests are usually conducted with dummy checks, which use the signatures of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney. However, these signatures were mistakenly placed onto the actual checks.

To correct the error, the misprinted checks were voided, and new ones were sent out one week later. Borgeson said that they had already reached out to the people affected by the issue and apologized for any inconvenience caused by the oversight.

This is not the only recent incident that involved Mickey Mouse’s false signature. Last August, American rapper and aspiring presidential candidate Kanye West was under fire after his petition for a presidential bid contained invalid signatures. At least 2,000 signatures were needed to qualify for the bid, and West was able to submit 2,400. However, some of the signatures turned out to be fake and included those of the iconic Disney character and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What should the department do to avoid a similar error in the future (e.g. stop using dummy checks)? Discuss.
• Do you think that the department resolved the issue well? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think a technical error is an acceptable reason for a mistake? Why or why not?
• Which do you think is more common, human or technical errors? Why?