Bank of America sends Matthew Shinnick to jail

Is this a fraud committed against an innocent citizen, or what?

Clark Howard highlighted this story on his website. Matthew Shinnick went to Bank of America to verify the validity of a check he received for someone who bought two bikes from him through CraigsList. The bank said that the account the check was drawn upon was valid, so Matthew cashed the check.

BoA employees then called the police to arrest Shinnick, because the check was actually a fraudulent check drawn on a legitimate account number. Matthew had no idea that his buyer presented him with a bad check, which is why he went into the bank to inquire about the check in the first place. He ended up spending the night in jail, and had to spend $14,000 in legal fees to clear his name.

Matthew asked BoA to cover his legal fees because this situation occured due to their error. The bank refused to pay the legal fees, and now Clark Howard is urging customers to close their BoA accounts, since the bank clearly does not care about its customers.

Clark Howard talked to bank officials, and they still refused to pay the legal bill. Clark even offered to pay $7,000 of the fees if the bank would also pay $7,000. They refused the offer.

Clark’s listeners have reported withdrawing $20 million from their Bank of America accounts so far.


  1. I just had another friend inform me of a “common sense lost” situation this morning and it makes me sad. His sad experience was watching his grandson’s life be ruined by doing the responsible thing. It makes me sad to know that we’ve lost touch with reality in today’s world. We don’t care if kids learn in school, just that they’re ready for a standardized test. We don’t care if punishment fits the crime, just that punishment is rendered. We don’t even want to listen anymore.

    Holly’s Corner

    Here via the Carnival of Family Fun ;o)

  2. I can’t believe that BofA would be so unfair. It was their mistake afterall. I guess if it could happen to Matthew, it could happen to anyone. I’m glad I don’t have an account there!

    Here via Carnival of Family Life.

  3. Rebecca

    Admittedly, my response is somewhat belated, but hopefully still informative – of course BofA pressed charged, Matthew was trying to pass off a fraudulent check for value! If somebody tries to resell stolen goods, it is a weak, if often used, defense that they didn’t know the goods were stolen. Even though he checked with the bank before cashing the check, there is no way for the bank to determine if the check is a fraud (provided the routing and account numbers are legitimate, which they were) until the check is presented for payment. And, once you present the check for payment, you are part of the fraudulent scheme. This is why you should not accept checks from people you don’t know.

  4. Nick

    In response to Rebecca’s comments I just want to say….should we not take cash anymore as well? I’m not a conterfeit expert but it’s just as easy to deposit “funny money” as it is to deposit a fake check. At what point do we hold the criminals at fault instead of innocent honest people.

  5. Brawny71

    In case anyone stumbles upon this older article, know that the person profiled in this article committed suicide in 2013. Maybe BoA isn’t solely to blame, but they certainly either started the ball rolling or sped it up!

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