Grandma out $6,000 after mail fishing, bank issue

Gladys Perry knew something was wrong when she got a call from a banker at Wells Fargo.

He asked if she had written a check recently for $6,000. The 85-year-old widow from Brooklyn told him she had never written a check that large in her entire life. He said the bank was investigating what appeared to be a forged check with her signature on it.

It turns out that Gladys put a $50 check for a credit card payment in the corner mailbox near her Starrett City home. A thief “fished” into the mailbox, pulled her check out and doctored it. Using a chemical wash, everything was changed except the check number. The dollar amount was changed to 6,000; it was made payable to “Kashawn Plummer," who Gladys has never heard of, and her signature was clearly forged.

The bank official told Gladys and her daughter, Deborah Windley, that it had not paid the $6,000, and was holding the check for investigation. However, it had taken the $6,000 from Gladys’s account at HSBC bank. Wells Fargo said it needed to hold onto the money until the end of its investigation. That was in November of 2018. In early February, she was still waiting for Wells Fargo to return the money to her HSBC account. Industry standards allow banks 120 days to resolve consumer complaints.

Without that money, Gladys had to cut back on Christmas gifts for her 11 grandchildren and when her neighborhood pharmacist recently told her the medication she needed would cost $300, she was unable to pay for it.

Frustrated, her daughter contacted “What a Shame” at PIX11. We spoke with Wells Fargo and HSBC. Following our call, a Well Fargo spokesman said “HSBC will post a provisional credit to the client’s account until the investigation process is completed.”

Only recently did Wells Fargo say its investigation was concluded and Gladys' money is now officially back where it belongs. The bank would not say what its investigation had found and if anyone has been arrested for the forgery.

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