Police called on man for attempting to deposit checks while black

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/24/police-called-on-man-for-attem.html


Teller and whoever called the cops needs to be fired.


I had some handyman work done by a hispanic man last year and when he went to cash the (rather large) check the bank hassled him and called me directly to verify. WTF? I asked them “Does the check have my signature? Is the check written out to him? Did he sign it? Then fucking cash it for him!”


Holy crap you guys are doing good reporting, but you are burying the lede pretty damned deep here. The kicker in this case, that goes completely unmentioned in your summary, is that the check he was cashing was a settlement check for a racial discrimination case.

Dude is going from one racial discrimination case to another. If his luck keeps up, this next check will spout another slam-dunk lawsuit too.


And at least up to the person who actually called the police.


Good point. I’ve updated my post accordingly.

You’re right. Holy fucksocks! I hope both the people involved and the bank pay dearly.



Better clickbait title: Police called on man for attempting to deposit racial reparations checks while black


Forget it, Jake – It’s Livonia.



It’s almost as if America doesn’t like black folks all that much or something… odd.


“He said the checks Thomas presented displayed a watermark that read VOID when they were scanned in a web viewer.”

This defense from the bank point of view but I agree with everyone that they had multiple avenues to verify the checks.


This won’t mean much to people who have never lived in metro Detroit.


What kind of bank is unfamiliar with bog standard anti-photocopying tech in checks? That’s been a basic feature on checks for like 30 years now. That sounds like someone made up some bullshit on the spot when pressed about their blatant racism in the hopes that the other person hasn’t paid attention to their checks ever in their life.


Hol’ up.

one for $59,000, one for $27,000 and one for $13,000.

So the issue of this potentially being investigated is legitimate. Any time a check or transfer of more than $9999 is made, it triggers a money-laundering alert per FINRA guidelines. Now the regulation does not state to contact the police, but it does state to flag the transaction itself for potential money laundering and the financial institution will do its due diligence in checking the source of the funds. Which is why large check deposits usually have a longer clearing date than smaller ones (even if it is a cashier’s check which is ostensibly cash).

Now based on how the story goes I do not doubt his assertions that the teller and bank manager were acting with prejudice; but the act of questioning the transaction would be legally appropriate for a financial institution based on the above detail.

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Which is why I’m curious why the bank didn’t just say they were fulfilling their requirements under current regulations, when asked why they suspected fraud. They could have said many things that would have at least not made them look like racist dumbasses. And they certainly didn’t need to call the cops to satisfy FINRA. Was anyone blaming the bank just for flagging the checks as suspicious?


Nothing will change when you fire the front line. Train the teller about racism, fire the branch manager and the highest HR person in the corporation. Have to scare the corporate stooges that they are actually accountable for there employees conduct like they always claim when bonus are handed out but never seen when troubles arise.


That’s the issue. The actual requirements are for the teller to notify the manager and then notify their fraud department. They specifically state not to hold anything up and not notify the customer in any way. Just act as if business as usual. If it is fraudulent or money laundering, they want to catch the individuals/companies involved.

So this is what makes me firmly believe the teller/manager are just assholes. Because if the process was followed properly, this man would never have known what was happening.


Stupid and probably racist to call the cops on him. But I worked at a bank (long ago), and there are some important “irregularities” that made his transaction difficult.

Article says he requested to open an account, deposit three checks that day, and take cash from those deposits. The checks were: “one for $59,000, one for $27,000, and one for $13,000.” Also not specified, whether those checks were from an account at that same bank.

So, yeah, a guy walks into a bank with $99,000 in checks, wants to open an account and draw off those checks same day? The article doesn’t specify how much cash he wanted to draw that day, but regardless of race, a transaction like that raises flags for potential money laundering or check fraud. Hey, it happens. And the IRS and now DHS require reporting for any same day cash transactions over $10,000 – that figure may be $5,000 now, I’m not sure. For a customer opening a new account? I wouldn’t call the cops, but yeah, I’d proceed carefully; I would have recommended explaining to the customer exactly what the difficulties are for cashing checks of that magnitude off of an account opened the same day.

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Sure it will. A couple of racists will be unemployed. Ain’t no contradiction between that and more institutional remedies.


Articles can get stealth changes, but the above linked articles don’t say that now. At the bank that called the police, he had an active account for 2 years into which he tried to deposit the two larger checks. For the smallest of the checks, he wanted to withdraw money. I’ve read elsewhere that the purpose of the withdrawal was to complete a private purchase of an automobile, and that he explained that to the teller at the time.
There is another bank where he was able to open an account, deposit all 3 checks, and get the cash he needed within a day. They might also have had legitimate suspicions about irregularities, but they managed to sort it all out.