Chase Bank Withholding Unemployment Funds Over 6 Months While "Investigating Fraud"

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Dec 23, 2020
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June 11th, 2020 Chase Bank personal checking suddenly and inexplicably closed. No access to my $5,929.56 balance. Kept getting runaround with customer service on the phone for hours trying to find out why account was closed after more than 4 years as a client with no issues.

June 12-15, 2020 still trying to get answers from Chase Bank telephone customer service. Keep getting the Philippines call centers who keep saying they are unable to tell me why the account was closed, and that Chase has the “right to end the relationship for any reason at any time with no explanation," and that I am "no longer welcome at Chase Bank."

June 16th, 2020 Went to Chase Bank to see if they could look into what happened. The banker told us she looked at our checking account records and was not able to see any reason why the account was suddenly closed. We weren’t able to withdraw our money. Transaction detail statement states that on June 18th, 2020 there was a “Debit DDA – Check Charge” for the full amount of my money in the cancelled checking account in the amount of $5,929.56.

July 9th, 2020 with no response from Chase Bank, I called Chase Bank’s Executive Branch and opened a case with one of the representatives. My partner emailed the representative our Certificate of Domestic Partnership and a record of two years of direct deposits to this account of my partner's paychecks as proof, as well as a copy of his Chase savings debit card as proof of ID and relationship.

July 14th, 2020 Called Chase Bank's local branch and a banker there spent over two hours with Chase Bank in-house services over the phone trying to find out why account was closed. We left the branch and the branch manager called us back before closing to let us know he found out that the account was closed because of suspected unemployment fraud.

July 15th, 2020 Went again to the same local Chase Bank location to see if they could look into what happened. 4 more hours with banker being on the phone with Chase Bank telephone customer service and even he kept getting the runaround and being constantly transferred back and forth. Finally we got connected to the Chase Bank Fraud Department who told us they have determined no fraud. Claimed the fraud that closed the account was from unemployment direct deposited into the personal checking for my partner.

The banker looked up our banking records and said that my legal partner was not listed on the checking account for some reason, only on the savings account. 3 years ago, we both went into this very same Chase Bank branch to add my domestic partner as an equal, joint user to both the checking and savings accounts, but for some reason the banker at the time failed to add him at our direction to the checking account, which we did not realize until just today. My domestic partner's paychecks had been direct deposited into this checking account for the past two years with zero issues with Chase Bank. Had Chase Bank brought it to our attention about this discrepancy, we surely would have taken care of it in person at the branch. My partner's recent unemployment checks have also been direct deposited into this very same checking account since the Covid pandemic began back in March, again with no issues from Chase Bank. Both of our government stimulus checks also were direct deposited into this same checking account with no issues as well. The representative from the Chase Fraud Department stated that they have determined that there was no fraud and that it was their mistake, and now I am no longer banned from opening future Chase accounts, and that the check for $5,953.56 would be overnight mailed to me via FedEx.

July 16th, 2020 Chase Bank claims that they tried to call me and claimed that I allegedly “did not answer the call.” So the Chase Fraud Department – Centralized Control Team once again froze our money, saying that the “ACH credit source will need to be determined, then Chase Bank can validate the funds.”

July 31, 2020 My domestic partner emails the same representative at the Chase Executive Branch a document from the Unemployment office proving that he is eligible for unemployment in both the states of Tennessee and Florida. Also included proof of previous deposits and other transactions such as direct deposited paychecks as proof of no fraud being committed, as well as the payment history from the Department of Employment Opportunity proving that $4800 was Covid-19 related unemployment.

August 5th, 2020 My domestic partner emailed the same representative at the Executive Office a document showing ongoing eligibility of unemployment that is now going into our newly-opened credit union account. The Department of Employment Opportunity says that they received no inquiries from Chase Bank regarding this case, nor any request to send back the funds in question. This seems to demonstrate that Chase Bank is not even interested in doing the simplest research to prove that there is no fraud in this case.

August 14th, 2020 after not getting any response from the Chase Executive Office representative, we called the Executive Office to follow up and were told that she is “out on vacation.” So some alleged supervisor took the call and promised to call back on Monday, which he did not.

August 18th, 2020 Called Chase Bank Corporate Offices to request submitting a complaint to the head of the Executive Branch. None available so left a callback request.

August 18th, 2020 called Chase Executive Office customer service to ask why no one was calling me back all afternoon. The Chase customer service person “Grace” from India says she can try to reach out to the Executive Office to see what is going on. She tells me to fax documents to the Loss Prevention Department to prove the unemployment validity.

August 18th, 2020 I get transferred to the Executive Office and Santos says there is an ongoing investigation and that Tami the account manager will call us later.

August 18th, 2020 Tami calls and says she will send a message to the Chase Fraud Department to follow up. She says the Fraud Department denied her request to release the funds even after she sent them the documentation that my domestic partner had emailed to her weeks before. I asked why Chase Bank is “playing detective” with Federal funding during the Covid pandemic and she stated that “Chase Bank has the responsibility of ‘playing detective’ with Federal and State unemployment payments.”

August 26th, 2020 Still no response from Chase Bank, nor the representative at the Executive Office. Filed online complaint with Office of the Currency www.HelpWithMyBank.gov may take up to 60 days to resolve the issue with the bank.

08-31-2020 5:20 pm. A new Executive Office representative Diane called to say she is now working on case

09-04-2020 fri 5:00pm Diane has left for the day. Left voice mail.

09-09-2020 Wed. 11:57 am Diane unable to take my call. Left request to call back

09-09-2020 4:00pm still no call back. Tried calling again. Diane not available. Will put in a request to call me back.

09-09-2020 called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 4:10 pm to follow up. They told me that companies have up to 15 calendar days to respond but have up to 60 days to act. CFPB said to try and call back Monday Sept 14th and if still no response then we can see what course of action we can possibly take at that time.
Response should contain details of what Chase Bank will do to remedy the situation.

09-10-2020 Chase Bank submits a generic, cut-and-paste excuse that still does not address the problem, not give any steps they will take to fix it. Where is the check?
Chase Bank’s response: ”We appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your service experience. Your feedback helps us serve you better. We aim to give exceptional service and are sorry if we did not meet this goal when you spoke to us and for any miscommunication that may have occurred. Under the terms of our Deposit Account Agreement (DAA), we may decline or prevent transactions to or from your account, and we generally do so to protect you or us, or to comply with legal requirements. As you may be aware based on media reports, the government has advised banks, including us, to be on notice of and identify potential COVID-19 related fraud schemes, including potential fraud relating to unemployment insurance benefits. We closed your accounts and the remaining funds were placed in suspense, while we complete our investigation. The DAA also states that we may remove funds from your account to hold them pending investigation. Records show that the account received unemployment benefits from multiple states. We are not able to release the funds based on the documentation you sent us. We respectfully decline your request for compensation as there was no error on our part.”

09-11-2020 called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 10:53am and they told me that I must submit another complaint stating that the problem has not been resolved.

Asked to speak to supervisor 11:05am. A Yesenia says only option is to file another report, however it may be flagged as a duplicate. I filed another complaint with the CFPB.

12-15-2020 Still no contact from Chase Bank nor the check for the balance of my checking account totaling $5,929.56.

12-18-2020 Received a letter of correspondence from Office of the Comptroller of the Currency dated December 3, 2020 where I filed a complaint against Chase Bank for not releasing my money in a timely manner. It has been over six months now with zero progress in this case of alleged fraud. Chase bank keeps repeating ad nauseum the copy and paste response to the OCC, “The bank acknowledged that it closed the accounts and placed the remaining funds in suspense, while it completed its investigation. The Deposit Account Agreement allows funds to be removed from the account and hold them pending investigation. The bank stated the account received unemployment benefits from multiple states. The bank was unable to release the funds based on the documentation that was sent. The bank declined the request for compensation as there was no error on the bank’s part.”

12-23-2020 Still no response from Chase Bank as to the status of the “investigation.” Does this “Deposit Account Agreement” by Chase Bank allow for indefinitely holding a consumer’s funds? I provided all documentation of eligibility for unemployment benefits in both the state of Florida and the state of Tennessee to Chase Bank and they still say it is not enough proof. These documents come directly from the state unemployment benefits office

Any help at this point would be greatly appreciated

Kyle
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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I was able to find the article below where this very thing happened in OR and WA:


The issue was blamed on "an algorithm", which is to say that the computer system software "caught" the fraudulent activity. I suspect that the combination of multi-state unemployment deposits combined with the absence of your partner's name on the checking account is the trigger, and would explain why a person could not initially determine a cause.

Although I am not a financial expert, it does seem that you have acted with due diligence in providing proof of your relationship, his prior paycheck deposits, and bank card information.

In addition to Neil's suggestion, you may want to appeal your case using the email addresses in this link:Chase Contacts
start at the lowest level, and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level

If you write, I recommend that you confine your narrative to these facts:
• Three (3) years ago you requested that your partner be added to your savings AND checking accounts
• The banker failed to add him to your savings account ONLY
• Since that time your partner's paychecks have been successfully deposited (automatically) into the checking account
• It was not until his multi-state unemployment checks were deposited that the account was frozen allegedly due to "fraud"
• You believe that this is a computer system software error and would like it to be corrected and your access/funds restored

End by thanking them for their time and consideration . . .
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I'm pretty sure that you can't collect unemployment from multiple states simultaneously. If you are eligible in multiple states, you are supposed to file in your home state and they will provide a single payment. They will then work with the other states to work out the funding. This may be why Chase is refusing to release your funds.

Did you apply independently for unemployment in FL and TN? Or are the multiple payments the result of process used by your home state?
 

Skippy

May 30, 2019
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Based on what I read in your original post, I agree with Posts #3 & #4. There are many cases of actual Unemployment Fraud in play today. Unfortunately, Chase could have flagged your joint account because funds were coming in from multiple states which can easily appear to be fraudulent.

You wrote that on 12/18 ...
. The bank declined the request for compensation as there was no error on the bank’s part.

If you are requesting compensation for your time & effort or demanding compensation for all the hassles you received, I suggest you refrain from that. A demand for compensation could be interpreted as a threat to sue, which could result the bank even more on the defensive and refer you to their the black hole known as the Legal Department. Focus on the core issue of getting your money.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Kyle, this is indeed a dreadful story. We've certainly heard similar ones, but never one where the OP was so obviously NOT in the wrong. You don't want to hear this, but it is just "one of them things" that happens in today's technology-driven world. It's business as usual for the bank. I love Chase, but I've had a couple of go-rounds with this kind of brainless thing on the credit card side, and the only avenue for you to pursue is calm, polite emails as VoR has outlined. How is your account registered? If it's not properly named, the possibility for this kind of snafu is greatly heightened. Forget any kind of request for "compensation", you just need to get this straightened out. Stay off the phone; handling it in writing should do the trick. Best of luck, and please let us know what happens.
 
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Dec 23, 2020
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I'm pretty sure that you can't collect unemployment from multiple states simultaneously. If you are eligible in multiple states, you are supposed to file in your home state and they will provide a single payment. They will then work with the other states to work out the funding. This may be why Chase is refusing to release your funds.

Did you apply independently for unemployment in FL and TN? Or are the multiple payments the result of process used by your home state?
No the unemployment benefits were not done simultaneously. He is a construction project manager who was living and working in TN, then another project in FL. The FL unemployment instructed him to apply for TN benefits then when that ran out, to apply for FL unemployment.
 
Dec 23, 2020
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Based on what I read in your original post, I agree with Posts #3 & #4. There are many cases of actual Unemployment Fraud in play today. Unfortunately, Chase could have flagged your joint account because funds were coming in from multiple states which can easily appear to be fraudulent.

You wrote that on 12/18 ...


If you are requesting compensation for your time & effort or demanding compensation for all the hassles you received, I suggest you refrain from that. A demand for compensation could be interpreted as a threat to sue, which could result the bank even more on the defensive and refer you to their the black hole known as the Legal Department. Focus on the core issue of getting your money.
I never did ask for any compensation - ever. This is exactly why I believe this statement from Chase Bank to be a mere “cut and paste” response from them.
 
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Oct 11, 2018
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I think post #7 is likely the issue. It doesn't seem right to double dip like that. I believe that's the fraud issue. Generally, if you worked in multiple states, you file in your home state. They review your history and charge the other state(s) for their portion of your benefits. An employee may have instructed you to do so in FL, but my guess is the paperwork signed would state you should only file in your home state.
 
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Dec 23, 2020
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Yes I don’t know but FL Dept instructed him to file in TN first then FL (not at the same time)
 

MAZ

Dec 10, 2020
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Still by filing for unemployment in one state and then when that ran out you filed for unemployment in another state, this would raise a red flag to any bank, not just Chase. No matter who told your partner to do this it could be seen as fraud. I have a feeling that this is the issue and why your account was frozen.
 
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