A US bloke who sued his bank after he fell for a Nigerian email scam has lost his appeal.
In March 2009, Charles Peters received an email from someone claiming to be Malaysian. The email claimed that someone in the United States and Canada owed the Malaysian money, but that they can not transfer the funds to any bank account outside America due to a new company policy.
He asked Peters to “assist me in receiving the funds and forward to me.” He offered to pay Peters 12 percent of the money.
Peters thought he was onto a good thing and being the hardnosed business person that he was he negotiated an increase of his fee to 15 percent, according to a report from law firm Reid & Hellyer.
He deposited the $808,988.90 in cheques received from the Malaysian at the Chino Commercial Bank.
The bank notified Peters that the cheques had cleared and Peters wire transferred $468,000 to Hong Kong.
However the cheques bounced after the bank detected that they had been fiddled with.
Peters was liable for any overdrafts on the account which had only a few thousand dollars, the bank wanted property owned by Peters to collect on the overdraft. A court granted the bank’s motion to attach against Peters in the amount of $458,782.60.
Peters appealed on the grounds that the bank should not have approved the cheques. However the court found that California Uniform Commercial Code said that the the bank had given provisional credit until that collection was final. In short Peters moved too fast.
It is just as well for the banks that he lost. Otherwise the troubled US banking system would have to underwrite each Nigerian account fraud. In short backing its customers’ daft investments, rather than giving unemployed people in string vests mortgages for worthless properties.