Stolen cashier's check
Answer by John Burnett, BOL Guru
Question: I recently purchased a cashiers check in the amount of $1,500.00 from the bank. This was for the first and last months security for a sublet apartment. The gentleman then ran off with the check. Turns out he was only staying there temporarily and had scammed 3 others as well. We tried to stop the check, but were told it was given in good faith. Although we had a police report that listed the check as STOLEN along with a proof of a warrant served in LA county for grand theft, it wasn't his first time, the bank held steadfast on refusing to stop the check. 3 days went by and he still hadn't cashed it. 12 phone calls to the help center did nothing and on the 5th night he cashed it and fled scot free. Shouldn't a bank notify a consumer of indemnity insurance? And shouldn't they have stopped the check after presenting the police report and proof of criminal activity?
Answer: The bank cannot actually stop payment on a cashier's check. It is obligated to pay it if presented by the payee or a holder in due course. In this case, the bank had no defense against paying the check.
The most the bank might have done (and neither of us was there to know the circumstances at the time of presentment) is to contact the police in the hope of having them capture the thief in the act of cashing the check or exiting the bank. Apparently, the bank did not do this.
First published on BankersOnline.com 10/4/04
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