July 9th, 2011
Econintersect: An Auburn, WA man got thrown in jail for forgery when trying to cash his tax rebate check at the bank that wrote the check. And then things got worse. Ikenna Njoku of Auburn, Washington bought his first home last year and was eligible for a first-time home owners tax credit. When the rebate was sent to the Chase bank (as he had requested on his tax return), the account had been closed. So Chase mailed him a cashiers check for $8,463.21. But when the 28-year old construction worker went to the Chase branch near his home to cash the check, he was arrested and thrown in jail, charged with forgery. It seems that the bank official who handled the check thought that he looked suspicious and the check looked fake.
Follow up:One day later the bank discovered its error. But through a classic series of screw-ups Njoku spent four days in jail. From The Consumerist:
By the time he got out, he had been fired from his job for not showing up to work. His car had been towed as well. It ended up getting sold off at auction because he couldn't afford to get it out of the pound. He had been relying on that cashier's check for his money but it was taken as evidence and by the time he got it back it was auctioned off.
All this while the cashier's check had been issued by the very bank he was trying to cash it at.
Chase didn't even apologize, not even after a year. A lawyer volunteered to help write a strongly-worded letter requesting damages. After trying hard to get a response, they sent KING 5 a two-sentence reply: "We received the letter and are reviewing the situation. We'll be reaching out to the customer."
Here is the KING5 video segment of an interview of Njoku:
Hat tip to Naked Capitalism