We were selling my husband's car (1961 Buick) and
a man contacted us off of an ad we placed on the internet. He said that he was
a car dealer and wanted to purchase it. Here is the info we have on who he was
claiming to be:
Magrove Transport LTD
17 Fani Kayode Street
Gra Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
He said that someone in the states owed him $8,800 and would just have them send
us a cashiers check to expedite the purchase. We would then deduct the price of
the vehicle ($1,600) and send him the remaining balance via Western Union so
that he could arrange transportation, once the check cleared.
We thought this sounded fishy, but we told him to send the check, and that
once it cleared the bank we would contact him to set up the transportation of
the car. We thought that we would never really see a check, or that when we
brought it to the bank it would not clear, so then we just would not set up for
transportation and that would be the end of it.
We received a cashiers check from Adebisi Julius's American friend Victor Tom on
10-7-2002. Here is the info we have on the person claiming to be Victor Tom:
512 Easton Rd Unit B
Warrington, PA 18976
The cashiers check was sent via Fed Ex for the amount of $8,800 made out to my
husband. The cashier's check number was 03202324 with the Bank of America logo.
Account number 03202324114000019001641002500.
The check was deposited into our savings account on 10-08-2002. While at
the bank depositing the check, I asked when would the check clear and I would
know that the funds were GOOD, they said 24 hours. I said to the teller,
"Really, I thought that it took like 10 days for a check to clear?" and he said
"Not with a cashier's check". Since I wanted to be sure that I was being clear
to him, I said "I need to know not just when the funds would show up in our
account, but I need to know when we can be sure that it is a good check, that it
has cleared, and that it is real money that we can touch and use. I don't want
to get a charge or have this come back and bite us in the butt" The teller
laughed, and said "Tomorrow afternoon ma'am. No problems", I thanked him and
Then, 2 days later, twice the time that I was told that I needed to wait to be
sure that this was a good check and that it had cleared, I went back to our
bank. So, since we had waited the amount of time that the bank had told us to
wait to make sure that the check was clear and good, I took out $7200 that was
supposed to be used for the transportation of the car and we wired it via
Western Union to Adebisi Julius's Accountant Ben Olawale at Magrove Transport.
Here is the info we have on the man claiming to be the accountant:
17 Fani Kayode Street
Gra Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The funds were wired via Western Union on 10-10-2002 and picked up on
On 10-16-2002, our bank called us and told us that the check was counterfeit and
that they were deducting $8,800 from our saving account, even though they told
us that the check would be cleared in 24 hours. We now have a negative account
balance of over $5000 that the bank says we are responsible for.
But their clerk told me that it would be clear after 24 hours. If I had known
that it might come back at me I would have waited longer. I even asked the
clerk, "I need to know when the check will be totally cleared and the money is
really there, because we don't want this check to bounce or something and have
it come back at us. I wouldn't want to find out our account went negative
because of this" And the clerk said, it would be good in 24 hours. Why are WE
responsible because THEIR employee gave me incorrect information?
We have contacted the police and they took a report, and said that the info
would be sent on to the Secret Service. And my husband did go to the FBI
website for reporting internet fraud and filled out an online form. He also,
contacted the local FBI branch and reported this. We have also contacted the
Attorney General and are waiting for the paperwork to arrive from them.
I know that the whole deal sounded weird from the get go, but we said if the
check clears then what the heck, who cares how this guy wants to pay for it.
And that is why I made sure I said that I needed to know when the check would be
cleared and we would be sure that the check was good. If the clerk had said
that it would show up in my account in 24 hours, but we would not be totally
sure that the check was good for 12 - 14 days we would have told the guy in
Africa that we would not be going forward with anything for three weeks or
more. But they told me 24 hours, and I trusted that they knew what they were
talking about. Isn't that their job, to inform their customers and to help
ensure our financial safety?
The bank manager basically told me too bad, and that if I was worried about the
check and the funds clearing I should have been more careful. I thought I was
by asking the bank how long it would take for the check to clear, and then
waiting twice that amount of time. She said that I should have called the Bank
of America that the check was issued from to verify the account number and that
the funds were in the account to cover the check . . . I guess I thought that is
what a bank is supposed to do, during the time that they tell you that you have
to wait to be sure a check clears. And the regional director said that he would
have to talk with everyone involved before he could answer any questions.
Then, on 10-17-02, we got a call from someone with the bank's headquarters. She
was calling to tell us that she was handling the return of counterfeit check,
and that it was going to be returned to us once she received it, if our account
was not negative. My husband said to her, "I know that you know nothing about
what we have been going through in the last day, you are just the person that
will be returning the counterfeit check, but can I ask you something . . . if I
were to bring a cashier's check into your bank and deposit it, how long would it
be until I would know it had cleared? Not just the funds have been transferred,
but that the check is good, and there is real money that I can pull out of my
account and use and not have to worry about the check bouncing?" She said that
she thought it was 24 hours, but she was going to go verify this with someone
else. When she came back to the phone she said that yes, it was 24 hours until
we would know it was a good check.
So, now we have had two bank employees tell us that when depositing a cashiers
check we need to wait 24 hours to make sure that the check is "good" and
clears. We did that, we waited 48 hours, so what did we do wrong? And why are
we being held accountable for the bank not giving us the correct information?
If they would have said that we needed to wait 10 days, then I would not even be
writing this letter because we would have waited longer, and the check would
have come back counterfeit and our account would be right back where it was on
the 10-7-02, before we deposited the cashier's check. We would just have to
tell the buyer that the sale did not go through. And that would be the end of
I called the regional director and tried to talk with him again, and he said
that he was standing behind what the manager has told us. I then told him about
the conversation with the other bank employee and that I have contacted our
lawyer, the police, the FBI and the Attorney General. I restated to him that I
have now been told by TWO employees of his bank that I would have to wait 24
hours for a cashier's check to clear, and we did that, so what did we do wrong?
He could not answer that question. He said that he had to make some more phone
calls and he would get back to me by the end of the day. When he did call back,
all he could tell us is that they are still looking into things, and that they
have released the hold that was put on our checking account because of all of
this, so at least we will still have access to those funds and not have to worry
about checks that we wrote last week bouncing.
Well, on Saturday 10-19-02 I got in the mail a notice from our bank that checks
from our account had bounced! And they had just assured me on Thursday evening,
around 6pm, that this would not happen!
I called on 10-19-02 and asked them about this. It turns out that on 10-17-02
ALL of the money from our checking account was transferred to our savings
account to cover the negative balance, even though that same day the regional
director assured me that this would not happen. We now have negative amounts in
BOTH our savings and our checking accounts, and service charges of over $90
being charged to us!
By the way, just to see if this would be the way that things would be handled at
other banks, I called several local banks on (Friday morning) and asked them all
this question . . .
"If a customer of yours came into your bank and deposited a $8800 check from the
Bank of America in Pennsylvania and asked you to tell them when they could be
sure that it is a good check, that it has cleared, and that it is real money
that we can touch and use, and that it is not going to come back and bite them
in the butt?"
Here are the answers I received . . .
Mandy with Bremer Bank in Richfield, MN
"With out of state cashiers checks we recommend 5 - 7 business days"
Kathy with Western Bank in Edina, MN
"In a situation like that I would wait 11 business days"
Erin with Highland Banks
"That could take anywhere from 2 - 11 business days ma'am"
Teller (did not get name) at US Bank in Mpls, MN
"That would be 5 - 10 business days"
Since my husband and I had agreed that we were going to wait twice the amount of
time that the bank recommended, if we would have been customers with any of the
above banks, I would not be writing this letter right now. There would have been
The bank manager finally admitted to us that a
cashiers check could come back and the amount would be deducted from your
account in 6 days, 6 weeks, or even 12 months after you deposit it. According to
her they have no way of telling!
I had to call the regional manager, several times last week to find out if
things were being resolved and what would happen next. He said that they were
reviewing the information, including the bank lobby video tape and the police
report and that they will know more in a few days. After a few days past, I
called again. I was
told that if I would have shown this much concern over the check at the time
of deposit that the bank would have handled this different and could have
checked the account to make sure it was safe. He said that from viewing the tape
it seemed like I was paying more attention to my daughter than I was to the
transaction with the check. By the way, my daughter was two years old at the
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