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 Njoku’s 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 down—like ‘you just bought a house in Auburn, really?’ She didn’t believe that,” he said.
The Customer Banker said the check looked fake, so she took it, along with Njoku’s 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 wasn’t 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 – you’re making a mistake, you’re making a mistake, don’t take me to jail, I got work tomorrow. I can’t afford to miss work,” he said.
Yes, they took him the jail. This was on a Thursday. The bank realized the next day that they had made a mistake, and called the police detective working the case to let her know. Unfortunately, “it was her day off” (!!), so the guy stayed in jail all weekend. He also lost his job for failing to show up for work. While he was in jail, Chase had his car towed from their parking lot. Because Chase had his money (the chashier’s check was his savings from a closed-out account), he couldn’t afford the impound fees. And because the check was seized as evidence, it took weeks to get it back, during which his car was sold then at auction.
A year later, and only after an attorney took up the guy’s case (PDF), Chase finally issued an apology. I’d say they owe him some compensation, too.