Talk about a dream lawsuit and an idiotic reaction from the bank.
The story is that 28 year old Ikenna Njoku received a first time homebuyer tax credit and asked the IRS to deposit the refund in his Chase bank account. The IRS sent the $ 9,000 to Chase but Njoku’s account was overdrawn, so Chase deducted the amount he owed and sent him a check for $ 8,400.
He took the check to Chase to cash but the teller was suspicious and questioned the validity of the check. In fact it took so long that Njoku left to run errands and by the time he returned the bank was closed. When he went back the next day the bank manager proclaimed the check a forgery and police arrived to arrest him.
He spent the next four days in jail (to be fair Chase called the police within a day to report it was a mistake so part of the blame there rests with the city).
During the time he was in jail his car was towed and because it took Chase more than a month to return the money he did not have the funds to get it out of impound. The car was sold and as a result he lost his job.
He’s now using his mothers car and has part time work.
Although it has been more than a year since the incident Chase has not apologized nor have they offered to compensate him for his losses.
It doesn’t help Chase’s bottom line that Njoku is black, an immigrant from Nigeria.
Trying to give Chase every benefit of the doubt I could see where the teller was initially suspicous. The whole “Nigerian Prince” scam on the Internet has raised issues with bank/check fraud and so I could see where she would want to check things out.
But certainly they should have been able to verify that the check was legitimate, after all it was a CHASE CHECK.
And certainly they should have made efforts to apologize and compensate him by now. Setting aside the debate over how much blame they have for the total time he spent in jail, they started the whole mess in the first place.
Indeed had they been smart enough to apologize and compensate him they might even have been able to mitigate the bad press by being the ‘big corporation who admits it’s mistakes’.
Instead they are likely to end up paying him a bundle and losing more customers.