Big banks, missing money, unanswered questions

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The story of former Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers pass rusher, Dwight Freeney, recently caught my attention. According to the AP reports, Freeney is suing Bank of America for $20 million alleging, “He was the target of an elaborate fraud scheme aided and abetted by the financial institution.”

The story of former Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers pass rusher, Dwight Freeney, recently caught my attention. According to the AP reports, Freeney is suing Bank of America for $20 million alleging, “He was the target of an elaborate fraud scheme aided and abetted by the financial institution.”

The story reminds me of a pile of records sitting next to me brought to me by an East County charity that assists women. The charity suffered losses from the same bank at the tune of $1.3 million, and is still seeking restitution. I am in possession of numerous documents of official record from the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury (OCC) and members of Congress calling for “the restitution process,” concerning “recovery of paid funds erroneously misdirected from the Kennen Foundation’s bank accounts.” (DOJ FOIA report).

These losses occurred right here in El Cajon at the retail locations of two of the nation’s most respected financial institutions. In dealing with BofA’s corporate office, I sent an entire package to them for review, and did get a response, but not a satisfactory one.

“With additional research, I was able to confirm that this is regarding a matter dating back to 1997, and was not brought to the bank’s attention until 2003.” (I show records as early as 1997 with the Kennen Foundation and several involved entities requesting restitution as far back as 1997). “I have forwarded your package to our executive customer relation’s team and legal department. However, we still consider this matter closed and our decision remains.”-Bank of America.

This is all based on a Statute of Limitations as far as I can tell. It is true, that the Statute has passed for criminal investigation here locally in El Cajon, but the fact that the Kennen Foundation has been continuously seeking restitution of lost funds since the beginning tells me that inquiries began and continues throughout this process and was well within the Statute. But, I am by far an expert in law, and this is where my multiple questions stem from. If the bank is guilty of the mismanagement of this money, does not that fall under the guise of fraud? And if the charity has been seeking restitution since loss, does the Statute of Limitations still take precedence?

The foundation is a public medical charity established in 1983. Since 1997, the charity has quietly assisted dozens of mentally ill, chronically diseased, often homeless women here in East County, many of whom are victims of domestic violence. The charity continues to assist local women while seeking restitution for misplacement of operating capital, amortized P/I to nearly $32 million dollars to date.

In October of last year, “March brings domestic violence to light,” we carried the story of Emily Schaedler, twice domestic violence victim and leader of the El Cajon march to commemorate the deaths of nine local ladies who lost their lives at the hands of loved ones. Unfortunately the story continues with the addition of Victoria Lyman, a beautiful 22-year old lady who was brutally tortured and murdered in Spring Valley not long ago. These incidents carry a single thread, as they describe the consequences when a woman is unable to find immediate safety to flea a threat. Undeniably, domestic violence is a fast spreading venom in our local communities and beyond.

I decided myself to look into the documents of official record provided by the charity. Present in the files are no less than eight official letters of inquiry signed by members of Congress, none of which were answered in writing by the Bank of America. I take special notice of the inquiry from Congressman Gerry Connolly to Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan: “To date a satisfactory response has not been received. Central to this issue is the authority of the Bank of America to wire moneys from an account owned by the Kennen Foundation without the proper authorization or endorsement.”

In the final evaluation this is not a story about missing money, it is a story about those missing women, those missing lives, who might have found safe haven, had the charity’s funds been restored as petitioned to the bank. But dismissing the missing money is impossible, and dealing with a corporate entity as large as Bank of America is nearly as unreasonable.

This opens Pandora’s box about the safety and security of the big banks check cashing policies, possibly affecting thousands of small charities, mom and pop businesses and personal bank accounts.

I have as many unanswered questions as well as answered questions, and with an open mind, would welcome anyone that could make legal sense out of this conundrum. After all, it is the truth that needs to be found in this, and if the truth is at it appears, needs to be rectified.

And if you are in for some interesting reading on where Bank of America currently stands with the Federal Reserve, read the Wall Street Journal’s “Federal Reserve tells Bank of America to resubmit Capital Plan in Fall.”

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