Elderly Woman Claims Chase Bank Failed to Prevent $72K Scam Involving Bitcoin ATM Deposit

News | July 8, 2024 By:

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, Marcia Smith filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase Bank and two of its employees alleging elder financial abuse and violations of California’s unfair competition law.

The complaint, filed in Superior Court in San Diego County, stems from wire transfers and a large cash withdrawal totaling over $72,000 that 81-year-old Smith claims she was fraudulently induced into making last August. According to the complaint, Smith fell victim to a scam when she searched online for Amazon’s customer service number and was directed to a fake page containing a scammer’s contact information.

The scammer then told Smith that over $35,000 had been stolen from her Chase bank account and used for criminal activity. In order to “undo” the transaction, Smith was instructed to withdraw the same amount in cash from her local Chase branch in Ramona. Despite the transaction exceeding Smith’s typical withdrawals and Chase’s own policy, a supervisor approved processing the request.

Still on the phone with the scammer, Smith withdrew the funds, nearly depleting her life savings. She was then directed to deposit $2,900 of the cash into a Bitcoin ATM, with plans for the remaining funds to be picked up the next day. However, the following day Smith received another call claiming another $37,000 had been stolen and needed to be replaced via wire transfer.

At the Poway Chase branch, Smith executed the wire while on the phone with the scammer. Neither the associate processing the transfer nor the approving manager inquired further into the suspicious transactions that drained over half of Smith’s remaining balance. No one from Chase reportedly explained to the elderly customer how the transactions could be fraudulent.

By the end of the week, Smith realized she had been scammed. However, Chase refused responsibility since Smith had “authorized” the transactions, despite their fraudulent inducement. A wire recall failed and Chase is accused of delaying notifying Smith about options to recover the funds until after the money was gone.

The complaint alleges elder financial abuse against all defendants as well as unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices against Chase under California law. Smith is seeking restitution of the $72,050 taken as well as damages, fees, and costs.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.