Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Corporate Douchebag of the Week: Chase Bank — Auburn, WA branch

This news story perfectly articulates and crystallizes what’s wrong with the Corporate States of America, Inc. When a large corporation commits gross negligence, there’s no accountability whatsoever. No penalties; no need to reimburse their victim(s) — Nada. Zilch. The individual who was victimized by this particular case of corporate negligence, on the other hand, spent four days in jail, got fired from his job and had his car impounded.

In Auburn, WA, Ikenna Njoku — a 28-year-old construction worker and homeowner — was planning to use his first time home buyer tax rebate to pay off his car. He arranged to have the rebate check deposited directly into his Chase Bank account. When the rebate check arrived, the bank mailed him a cashier’s check for $8,463.21.

When he went to his neighborhood Chase branch to cash the check, the trouble started. Even though the check had his name and current address on it, and the check had been issued by JP Morgan Chase, the bank person who handles large checks became suspicious. Ikenna Njoku said:

“I was embarrassed. 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.”

She took the check, along with Njoku’s driver’s license and credit cards, and showed them to somebody higher up. After being kept waiting for fifteen minutes, Njoku left the bank to get some errands done. When he came back, the bank was closed. He called customer service and asked what he should do, and they told him to go back to the bank the next day and get his money.

When he went back the next day, police were waiting to arrest him on forgery charges — writing a fraudulent check. Njoku said:

“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 was taken to jail on a Thursday. The next day, Chase realized they’d made a mistake — the check was legitimate. They called the police station and left a message with whoever answered the phone. “OK, I did my job. Next.”

The person who should have acted on the message was off for the day and nobody else got the message. So Njoku spent the entire weekend in jail and was released on Monday. The Auburn Police Commander said Chase could have done a lot more to let them know they’d locked up an innocent person:

“We do have a main line that comes into our front office. There are ways to reach someone 24/7 at a police department.”

While Njoku was in jail, his car — which he’d parked at the Chase parking lot — had been towed and impounded. And the car was auctioned off and sold before he had a chance to come up with the impoundment fees.

Oh, and he was fired from his job because he didn’t show up for work that previous Friday. Since, you know, he was wrongly in jail at the time.

Not only is Chase not guilty (technically) of any wrongdoing — they haven’t even made any hollow attempts to offer a phony apology to Ikenna Njoku.

But remember now — Corporations are People.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


And WTF says they're "not guilty" (technically)

On a lighter note, the verification word is "FUNCT"

July 7, 2011 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Know what he would have used that money on? Implanting explosives in his gonads to bring down an American airliner.

You go, Chase Bank!

July 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger jadedj said...

Yeah I just read this on Squatlo's Rant. I'm not any less outraged after reading it a second time.

This man's law suit has so many facets it's incredible. I hope he sues the crap out of them, and they have to close down that branch to pay the man.

The police are equally guilty.

My first impression was, this all happened because the man is black.
The bank clerk...the police...profiled. No doubt in my mind. Cocksuckers, one and all!

July 7, 2011 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: Corporations have rewritten so many laws and regulations, nothing they do is illegal any more.

Randal: And to think that anyone can just walk right into a bank without being strip searched and X-rayed. Be very afraid.

jadedj: I'm glad this story is making the rounds. I posted on it after seeing it on the local (Seattle) news. I'm glad other bloggers are covering it too. And now it's on Think Progress and Raw Story as well.

July 8, 2011 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few years ago a black man walked into Wall-Mart with a six figure certified check trying to make a purchase. Wall-Mart panicked, called the police and had him hauled away.

It was later established he was the CEO of his company and he came in to buy Wall-Mart gift cards for his employees for Christmas.

He went across the street to Best Buy instead


July 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: That's truly a heartwarming story. Poetic justice.

July 9, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Kelley? There is no fair resolution. This man has been falsely arrested. He lost his car. He lost his job. Do you GET THAT? Mr. Njoku, do NOT accept anything less than $15 million. I am a far cry from litigious, but this kind of grotesque discrimination and over-zealous police action must cease and desist. I have cancelled bank account and credit card with Chase. I encourage all reading this to 1. cancel all dealings with Chase. 2. Send letters/emails to Chase executives and board members and 3. Post this news everywhere so it goes viral -- quickly. The only way to ensure we Americans conserve our civil liberties is to stop this madness dead in its tracks. And the only way to stop it is to hit the bank heavily...in their financial pockets. Go Mr. Njoku!

July 12, 2011 at 10:51 AM  

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