NJ man loses $80K in life savings after routine bank transfer

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Imagine a scenario where you lost your job to the pandemic and then in a matter of seconds, lost every nickel of your life savings.

A 24-year-old faced with this nightmare scenario reached out to 7 On Your Side, who got to the bottom of this mystery.

"I felt like I lost my life savings and it was very frustrating," Andrew Alexander said.

First, he lost his job -- then all his money, $80,000 total.

The money was set aside for his education and got frozen during what Alexander believed was a routine bank transfer.

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"There was promotion going with Citibank that if you open an account with a certain amount of money, I get $700. So I was just trying to get that extra bonus," Alexander said.

He transferred $50,000 from his online Chime account just before Christmas, then got 'scrooged.'

"Basically, the next day, both accounts were frozen, and Chime says my funds were not eligible for refund," Alexander said. "As to why both accounts were frozen, I still have no idea."

Chime wanted Alexander to provide unemployment verification, but Citibank didn't ask for any documentation and wouldn't disclose why all his money was frozen.

"Every time I contacted them, they haven't given me a reason," Alexander said. "They said the block was out of their scope, go to the branch, when I went the branch, they said call me over the phone."

With rent and bills due, Alexander was at a loss.

The 24-year-old's job disappeared when the establishment where he worked closed because of COVID.

He's been moonlighting as personal trainer and re-enrolled in college so was desperate to unlock his tuition money.

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"I needed to buy gifts. I couldn't even buy food, my girlfriend took care of me," Alexander said.

Until he decided to call 7 On Your Side to take a crack, and his iced cash.

The 7 On Your Side team asked Chime and Citibank to investigate.

We never found out what caused the freeze because neither bank is allowed to discuss customer accounts. But just 48 hours after we called, the big chill on Alexander's 'Benjamins' was thawed.

"I was definitely relieved. I felt happy and thankful I really appreciate it," Alexander said.

Citibank sent a check for $50,000 and Chime unblocked $30,000.

"If it wasn't for you (7 On Your Side) I wouldn't be able to get my money," Alexander said. "I appreciate 7 On Your Side getting involved. Thank you so much and keep helping people."

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