Skip to comments.Jailed for cashing Chase check at Chase bank
Posted on 07/07/2011 12:17:33 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
AUBURN, Wash. - Buying his own home was a big accomplishment for construction worker, Ikenna Njoku, of Auburn. Hes only 28 years old. I was really excited. For the first time, I actually got to buy a lawn mower, mow my lawn and everything, said Njoku.
Njoku qualified for the first time home buyer rebate on his tax return.
"It was really important, I had a vehicle I was looking on paying off," said. Njoku. And it wasnt just any vehicle. It was a 2001 Infinity I-30, silver just like my favorite car, he said.
Njoku signed up to have the rebate deposited directly into his Chase Bank account. But when the IRS rebate arrived, there was a problem. Chase had closed Njokus account because of overdrawn checks in the past. The bank deducted $600 to cover what he owed them and mailed him a cashiers check for the difference--$8,463.21.
But when Njoku showed up at the Chase branch near his house intending to cash the check, he was in for a nasty surprise.
The check had Njokus name and address on it and was issued by JP Morgan Chase. But the Chase Customer Banker who handles large checks at the Auburn branch was immediately suspicious.
I was embarrassed, Njoku said. She asked me what I did for a living. Asked me where I got the check from, looked me up and downlike you just bought a house in Auburn, really? She didnt believe that, he said.
The Customer Banker said the check looked fake, so she took it, along with Njokus driver license and credit card, and called Bank Support.
After waiting for about 15 minutes, Njoku said he got impatient and told Chase he was leaving to do an important errand. By the time he got back, the bank was closed. Njoku said he called customer service and asked them what he should do. He says they told him to go back to the bank the next day to get his money.
But when Njoku arrived, it wasnt the money that was waiting for him.
They just threw me in jail; they called the police and said this guy has a fraudulent check, Njoku said.
Auburn police arrested him for forgery - a felony crime.
I was like - youre making a mistake, youre making a mistake, dont take me to jail, I got work tomorrow. I cant afford to miss work, he said.
Njoku was taken to jail on June 24, 2010, which was a Thursday. The next day, Chase Special Investigations, realized it was a mistake. The check was legitimate. The Investigator called Auburn Police and left a message with the detective handling the case, but it was her day off. So Njoku stayed in jail for the entire weekend. Finally, on Monday, he was released.
Auburn Police Commander Dave Colglazier said Chase could have done a lot more to let them know theyd locked up an innocent man.
We do have a main line that comes into our front office, he said. There are ways to reach someone 24/7 at a police department.
For Njoku, going to jail for five days meant a lot more than just losing his freedom. He said the entire time he was just stressed out trying to figure out what was going on with my vehicle. I love my vehicle, he said.
Njokus car had been towed from the bank parking lot and his check seized as evidence.
I had to wait a couple of weeks, he said, and my car got sold, auctioned off."
Njoku says he didnt have the money to pay the impound fees and fines to get his car back before it was sold. He said he also lost his job because he didnt show up for work while he was in jail.
After all of that, Njoku said he never heard a word from Chase.
They havent even sent me a letter or apologized, he said. Its been a year weve been trying to contact these guys.
Finally, A Seattle attorney offered to help. Last week, Felix Luna sent Chase a scathing letter. Read the attorneys' letter to Chase
Its one thing to make a mistake, Luna said. Its one thing to make multiple errors of judgment like Chase has made and then, once you realize that your error has caused such harm to somebody else, to just ignore it for a year. I think he deserved better. I think all their customers do.
Like Njoku, KING 5 had a difficult time getting answers from Chase. A week after first contacting them, they sent a two line e-mail.
"We received the letter and are reviewing the situation. We'll be reaching out to the customer," wrote Darcy Donoahoe-Wilmot, from Chase Media Relations.
Njoku said that even after he got out of jail, he said was confused and upset. "For a month, two months, I was just down and depressed," he said.
Hes still happy he bought his house, but sad that his experience with his own bank was so humiliating.
They treated me like a criminal, he said.
I’m as anti-lawyer as anyone.
But, methinks this fellow should sue...big time!
Time to lawyer up and sue the everliving piss outta all involved in this mans unlawful arrest. The bank, the tellers who made the fraud call on the check, the police,,, everyone....
They must have thought the guy was named “Washington Mutual”. I would say much more about chase, but I would hear from their lawyers. Watch it!
Chase is gonna be sorry they lost his business when he gets his money from his uncle the Nigerian Finance Minister.
More like Uncle Chase
I think Chase may be taking some of that mortgage bill away. If not, i hope he gets the bank staff involved a free three day weekend in jail for their part of this.
Something really smells.
Well, sounds like he did bounce some checks in the past.
On general principles, I don’t like lawsuits. But in this gentleman’s case, I make an exception.
IMHO, if he files suit, takes in front of a jury, and said jury award his Fifteen Gazillion Bajillion Dollars, I’m all for it.
Or, better yet, enough money to buy Chase Bank. Vengeance is a dish best served cold (Old Klingon Proverb).
But don't worry -- our financial system is sound as a dollar!!
A year? Ain’t very bright, is he, if he’s just now thought... Hey, I should talk to a lawyer...
It would be amusing if Chase ends up using an argument that the man has no standing as an illegal alien. I’ve seen the way they make money off of illegals, so if someone at the bank saw his name and made an assumption...
More like Uncle Chase
You got that right! They are so connected with this administration that every time a staffer opens their mouth, a little Chase runs down their chin from the inability for them to swallow fast enough.
Advice for Mr. Njoku:
When you get your big settlement check from Chase, go to a different bank to cash it.
So? Overdrawing your account doesn't excuse this sort of treatment, especially since the questioned check was generated by the very bank that he was trying to cash it at.
Take it to the same bank, same teller, and fill out one deposit slip for today, and offer them a mulligan. Do it on a tuesday and pray it’s a two-fer.
Just another ‘dead beat’ trying to extort money from a poor put upon bank. Maybe they can get him locked up again but this time under the jail so they won’t have to deal with him.
Didn’t he have a friend at Chase? I thought everybody has a friend at Chase.
that is a scary thought
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