As KING 5 reported this week, 28-year-old Ikenna Njoku went to a Chase Bank inside a Fred Meyer in Auburn on June 24 of last year with a $8,463.21 tax-refund check. This check was actually issued by Chase itself, as it had been deposited in Njoku's closed Chase account by the government and had fees deducted by the bank for past overdrafts. Finally the difference was mailed to him in the form of a bank-issued cashier's check.
So Njoku apparently went into the bank to cash this check, and the teller immediately became suspicious of him. She supposedly started asking things like what he did for a living and where he got the check, and "looking [him] up and down."
The teller was so suspicious, in fact, that she refused to cash the check and instead had it held. Njoku eventually got frustrated and left the bank, then he called a customer-service agent who told him to come back the following day to get his money.
But when he showed up at the bank the next day, the police were waiting, and he was quickly arrested for a felony charge of trying to cash a forged check.
The check wasn't forged, of course, but nonetheless Njoku was taken to jail.
The next day--a Friday--Chase apparently realized it had made a big mistake and had someone put a call in to the Auburn Police detective handling the case. But the detective was off that day and didn't get the message until Monday morning.
The agent never bothered to call anyone else at the police station.
So for four nights and five days total, Njoku stayed in jail. His car was towed and impounded. And he was fired from his job for not coming in.
When he finally got out, Chase still wouldn't give him his check immediately, which he needed to cover things like the impound and tow fees that his car had racked up. So when he couldn't afford to get the car from the impound lot, it was auctioned off.
Worst of all, for a solid year, Njoku apparently tried to get an answer or some compensation from Chase, and for the whole year the bank ignored him.
That is, until he finally lawyered up and talked to the press.
Now, Chase is suddenly very apologetic. The bank issued this statement on Thursday:
"This is a very unfortunate and unusual situation. We apologize to Mr. Njoku and deeply regret what happened to him. We are working quickly to understand all the details so we can reach a fair resolution.
Working quickly on month 13. Waydago, guys.
Now here's Njoku's lawyer's letter to Chase.