Last June, 28-year-old Ikenna Njoku of Auburn, Washington was reportedly imprisoned for four days after trying to cash a Chase check the bank itself had issued to him.
Mr. Njoku, who at the time claims he had become a new homeowner, qualified for the first-time home buyer rebate on his tax return, for a total of $8,463.21 after overdraft fees, reports King 5 Seattle
When Chase mailed him the check, he says that he sought to cash it as quickly as possible. But when he arrived at the Chase bank, the banker allegedly thought the check, and his claim that he owned a home, were fraudulent.
"I was embarrassed," Njoku told King 5. "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."
According to Mr. Njoku, he left the bank and was told by customer service that he should come back the next morning. When he did, the bank had phoned the police, who subsequently arrested him for forgery.
Njoku remained in jail for four days. When the bank realized it had made a mistake, they left a voicemail message with the detective handling the case, but unfortunately for Mr. Njoku, it was the detective's day off. No further attempts were made by the bank to correct the error, the local police department confirmed to King 5.
The check that had landed him in prison was reportedly seized as evidence and he lost his job for failing to show up while in prison.
"They [Chase] haven't even sent me a letter or apologized," he said. "It's been a year we've been trying to contact these guys." He has since hired an attorney.
Mr. Njoku is not the first individual who has been imprisoned for what has arguably been a bank's mistake. In June of this year, KCAL 9
reported that Laguna Beach resident Stephen McDow had been arrested for spending $60,000 of a $110,000 tax refund that Citibank had mistakenly deposited in his account.