A pair of elderly women are suing JPMorgan Chase for allegedly enabling a massive theft of over $2.2 million of their combined life savings.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say 76-year-old Diane Artemis Yaffe and 80-year-old Alice Lin were victims of “pig butchering” scam in California when they were targeted by con artists posing as employees from Internal Revenue Services (IRS).
Yaffe was defrauded of over $1.5 million and was forced to sell her home and other retirement savings to cover her losses. Lin was robbed of over $720,000, which was “nearly every penny of her retirement savings,” and has left her in severe financial insecurity, according to lawyers.
In the case of Yaffe, the scammer pretending to be an IRS agent threatened her with “jail, fines, and more” if she didn’t send her life savings overseas through seven different wire transfers. Her lawyers argue that none of the wires should have been allowed by Chase as they were obviously suspicious and out of character.
Says Anne Marie Murphy, partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy (CPM), the firm representing the plaintiffs,
“Chase has a long history of failing to protect its elderly customers in the face of obvious fraud. What is remarkable here is that Chase processed transaction after transaction despite both seniors’ long-standing banking relationship with Chase.
The transactions at issue were entirely out of character for these two elderly women and that Ms. Lin and Ms. Yaffe are just two examples of the many victims of vicious and pervasive elder financial scams that are widespread across the state and nation.”
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Chase spokesperson Peter Kelley said that both Yaffe and Lin were fully warned by bank employees about the wire transfers before they were sent.
“When customers visit our branches to complete wire transactions, our bankers ask questions, raise awareness around various scam scenarios and provide clear warnings that once a wire is sent, you may not be able to recover your money. These interactions occurred in this case when Ms. Yaffe and Ms. Lin authorized wires from their accounts.”
However, according to the Los Angeles Times, Lin says she was only given warnings after the wires had been sent, and that the bank failed to consult with her daughter, who is a co-owner of the bank account.
Lin’s daughter reportedly wants to know why banks constantly contact customers to question their credit card purchases, but don’t seem to mind when large sums of money leave the account in overseas wire transfers.
Says Theresa Vitale of CPM’s Santa Monica office,
“Big Banks like Chase facilitate predatory schemes that victimize their most vulnerable customers instead of protecting them. California law allows victims like Artemis and Alice to hold banks accountable and recover money tragically stolen from them.”Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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