7 On Your Side helps parolee after check deposit caused bank to freeze account

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Tuesday, April 2, 2024
7 On Your Side: Avoiding frozen bank accounts
Nina Pineda has tips on how to prevent your bank accounts from being frozen.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Check fraud is a rampant problem which is why banks have to crack down when they suspect fraud.

But what about when the check is legitimate and it still gets the bank account frozen? That's what happened to a parolee who turned his life around after serving his time to help others.

When his account was frozen since last year, he called 7 On Your Side.

For his work as a paralegal, Leonard Rollock Jr., gets paid by the U.S. Treasury Department. But when a paycheck from Uncle Sam got flagged for fraud, his newly opened bank account was abruptly frozen and closed.

He has been trying to find his money for almost a year after the Treasury Department said it was cashed.

"Oh, they tried to tell me that the money was tied up in a fraud investigation," he said. "And that would take... they couldn't tell me how much time that would take."

But he said the money has been missing since the day of deposit: March 7, 2023.

He said he deposited his check at the ATM -- but large sum checks can trigger a fraud warning.

7 On Your Side has helped half a dozen customers of various banks, who together had almost a quarter million dollars frozen. Insurance policy settlements, disability checks, lump sum work payments and home sale deposits can all result in frozen accounts.

Rollock's paycheck represented 162 hours of his work as a paralegal with the Criminal Justice Program, which provides legal help to defendants in federal court that can't afford lawyers.

"I help a lot of people I guess," Rollock said. "A lot of lawyers see a lot of benefit in me because I'm a formerly incarcerated person."

Rollock served nearly 26 years in prison after being convicted of racketeering and narcotics offenses. But he spent his time learning law in the library, earned his bachelor in science and paralegal degrees while behind bars, and since his release, he has worked on numerous cases with some high profile prosecutors and defense lawyers.

So for his U.S. government paycheck to be considered fraudulent was infuriating. His daughter suggested he call 7 On Your Side and we contacted his bank. Within a day he got his entire account unfrozen and the check that was flagged for fraud was released -- a total of $10,562.50.

The big takeaways are: never deposit checks or large amounts of cash in an ATM, meet with a branch manager and provide ID proof and evidence the check is legitimate.

Nina Pineda joins the Mornings @ 10 team to share the details.



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