Warning! If you use Western Union money orders, or have anything to do with Wilshire State Bank, expect this kind of treatment when the proverbial poop hits the fan. Western Union and this bank will not assist you in the event you are ripped off. You may think there are safeguards to protect you in the case that your mailed payment is intercepted... think again.
Fraud Claim Timeline:
2-18-06 Purchased money order from 7-11 on Garland road just after White Rock Lake spillway. This was immediately dropped into the external mailbox and sent to Capital One.
(Copy of original money order stub provided)
(Copy of original refund request provided.)
Letter of refund request sent on 3-05-06, right after I had received my Cap one statement for Feb, and it was showing no payment received.
I received their response around a month later on 4-02-06. Their response was to show me ?proof? of the money order being cashed. ALL of the information had been altered. (Copy provided)
*Note* The purchaser's address has been changed to 9750 Ferguson Road, and the signature to B-Lynch. This is the address for Bishop Lynch High School. A private Catholic school that has their own internal banking center, and thus no need to purchase a money order from 7-11 some miles away.
*Note* The Money order number is unique to each money order. There is no way that two money orders could receive the same money order number.
I immediately called them and tried to establish some paperwork on this. Their original service number had no prompt to be able to talk to an actual person, and I was re-routed numerous times. Finally I called a totally separate division and spoke to a customer service rep there. He informed me that if I entered my money order number, and missed one number or entered it incorrectly I would be routed to a service rep in the Money order department.
Offense report also filed with the DPD, Northeast Highway station.
As well as mail theft complaint filed electronically with Postmaster General. Conf# 3704618
4-4-06 Get through to service center and speak to a supervisor about the process I will need to go through. I am assigned Conf# 01454199. I am told that I should be receiving a fraud claim affidavit within 90 days.
7-5-06 Nothing received as of yet. Called again to check up on status of my claim and whether or not they have even received my request for affidavit. The service rep re-submits my request and assigns me a new confirmation number. 01469551 I am routed to their Fraud department, and never actually get through to a live person. So, I call back to their fraud department and leave a voice message for every single person in their personnel directory. This gets me a response and an affidavit in the mail by the next week. I get this signed sworn and notarized within 3-4 days of receiving it and send it back out.
About a month or so later. I receive a voice message from their Fraud department stating that they have lost my original affidavit and that they are sending me another by mail.
I notarize this copy again and send it back out in August. I am supposed to wait for thirty days before I call in and make any telephone inquiries.
September 15-06 Call again and see if there is any update on my claim. The customer service rep tells me there is no new information showing on this and that she will submit a form to have the Forgery department call me within 3-5 Business days. Nearly a month passes and I get no call.
October 27th. No call received nothing in the mail from them either?. I start shopping around for an attorney.
First week of November. Call one last time and ask for them to contact me. I am told that there has now been a company-wide e-mail telling all service reps not to give out any specified amount of time in which the fraud-forgery department calls a customer.
Dec 13th: First real break comes in response t a demand letter sent out by m attorney Mr. Ken Ford by way of a letter from the Victim's Notification Service. (US DOJ subdivision under the postmaster general) Included in this package is a VNS Login ID and Pin # for me to use on their website to check the status of my case and any developments. There is also a copy of the federal indictment filed on the 28th of November, clearly stating the method and means of the conspiracy. This plainly points out how a number of items were stolen, treated with a chemical to dissolve the ink and then re written and made payable to a Lisa Flores, or Lisa Guerrero Flores or some combination thereof:
Dec 12th: I decide to take this proof and my documents directly to the bank that cashed it, as this is what Western Union would do anyway. I FINALLY get the forgery department on the line. The development of the Federal indictment helped this along, as I was able to beat them over the head with it. They have supposedly already submitted my information to the bank already, and I have simply been ignored by them.
Dec 22nd : My attorney receives the package addressed to Wilshire State Bank back in the mail. Apparently the address has been changed and the phone book has not caught up with it. I go to Google and find two other addresses. I fish this info out and turn it over, including a fax number. Mr. Ford faxes a copy of the demand letter to the bank.
I in turn deliver my documentation in person to the bank.
Wilshire State Bank: 972-919-9999 Located off of HWY 35 and Royal Lane, past the Texas Stadium. I drive out there and am given Olga Martinez as a contact. She reviews my info and assures me that this should be resolved in less than a week.
Jan-05-07: Still no word from these people at the bank. I have been calling Olga every week since I submitted the paperwork, including another newly sworn affidavit which I have had to pay to notarize yet again. (Affidavit #4)
Jan 05-07 I decide to go in person to see just what the hell is going on.
I do not get to actually speak with anyone who knows anything about my situation. Despite waiting for nearly an hour in their lobby. I am finally told that they cannot actually authorize any reimbursement from their branch, and that it has to be authorized by their corporate headquarters in California. And that I should come back at a later time.
Jan 08-07: Talking to Olga Martinez on the phone again. She acts surprised that I even called. She tells me that she spoke with corporate and that they denied my claim outright, that I should seek refund from Western Union, and she also says they told her that they contacted me.
I hit the roof. ?What?!? Nobody has contacted me! I only have one phone number where they could reach me, and no one has called! How about I just bypass all this crap and sue your goddamned bank?! Would you like to be responsible for that?!??
I am told that I should speak with the Branch Manager, and that she cannot speak with me just yet, as she is with a customer. She will call me. I tell them, ?Ok, sure.? And decide to just show up in person instead.
I am greeted by an empty lobby when I arrive, not a customer in sight. They eventually send someone out to speak with me who tries to get a basic understanding of my claim. I briefly go over my situation with her, she tells me that I should go to the place I bought the money order.. I tell her that is not possible as I bought it from an automatic money order machine in a Seven Eleven. I also inform her that Seven Eleven referred me to them anyways. Finally I get to speak with the Branch Manager? she seems very nice and eager to help. Only thing is, I forgot to bring my pack of documents with me. She is unable to reimburse me on the spot. I tell her that I gave the whole package to Olga Martinez including the affidavit. She asks me when I can bring everything back by, and the earliest time I can do so. I tell her Monday.
Following Monday: I drop the package of documents off as well as get her in touch with the Forgery department with Western Union, she tells me that she will need to call her and talk to her as part of the procedure. I speak with Eileen Burrows in the forgery department later that day and make sure she has the right phone numbers for the branch manager.
Eileen informs me later that they want her to re-mail everything as they only have one fax machine that works sometimes, and doesn't work others. Eileen B. Quote ?What kind of bank only has one fax machine? Here at Western Union's forgery department we must have 7 or 8, and there are only three people in our department.?
*Note* In the last few weeks I have been a caller on Live 105.3 Everett Newton Show twice. The first time I called was to describe my situation and ascertain just who I could legally bring to court in the event that I sue. The second time was to tell Everett himself that the CW 33 had picked me up and was planning to air me sometime this week. 17th or 18th of Jan.
*Checking in with my attorney turns out the same result. Nobody has contacted him either.*
1/30/07 I receive a call from Jose Palomares at Western Union Forgery
Dept, wishing to verify my address. He tells me that they are sending me a ?correspondence? regarding my claim but will not go into details regarding it. I have a bad feeling about this.
In response to this gut feeling, I have researched the small claims court in Dallas County. Looks like I could spend upwards of $120.00 in pursuing this legally. Good news is, I can have that all paid off by Wilshire State if I win the case.
*Note, I have been in contact with Andrea Grimes at the Dallas Observer, since we had so much bad weather over the last week or so, I never made to air on the CW 33. Andrea had initially told me I would get into the Dallas Observer blog, but now I am told they are actually going to print with my story. This should be available in Dallas Observer newsstands Jan 31st.
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