I opened a new account with Suntrust a few weeks ago in order to have my tax refund direct deposited into it. The actual refund was for my fiancee' /common law husband (we had been together for about 16 years. I live in Georgia). We have an 11 year old son. My fiancee' passed away last September unexpectedly. He said goodnight, went to bed and never woke up the next morning. He was only 37 and never sick at all. He had always been very healthy. Anyway, He had no will. Georgia law states that all money or property of his goes to his son. I did his taxes through Turbo Tax and filed the proper paperwork with them for the IRS concerning his death and my filing and receiving his tax refund, which all approved (both the Turbo Tax specialists and The IRS).
The money was direct deposited into the account on April 1st. I was told by a bank rep that same day, on the phone, that I could use my Suntrust card that day for the entire amount, should I want to purchase anything, pay bills, etc. She told me there was no problem with my using the funds immediately. I chose to wait until Saturday to withdraw money because I needed to pay my rent which was past due. The sheriff had already served me eviction papers. It's been really hard since my fiancee' died. It was unplanned and my son and I were left with less than $10.00 to our names. I have worked and struggled and we've gotten through but never ahead. I knew this tax refund would get us out of the little debt we had and actually put us ahead so that we could stay ahead from here on out.
Unfortunately, the asst. manager of the Suntrust Bank at the Publix (her last name is Skeeter or something very similar) I chose to visit decided that I couldn't have the money and put a legal hold on it. Over the next 5 days, she has had me running up to her branch 2 to 3 times each day, and waiting in front of her counter at least for more than a total of 12 hours, has sent me to our county courthouse twice and had me personally bring to her many documents to prove that my fiancee' is dead and that our son belongs to him and more. She knew we were being evicted this Thursday and that I had to have the money by Tuesday night to avoid an additional $200.00 charge on top o the $2044.00 I already owed for rent. She kept dragging her feet and literally lying and making up excuses. I ended up speaking with Suntrust's legal team many times during this period.
I told them the Ga. law she was violating and discussed everything else with them about my situation too. They told her to release the money to me on Tuesday. She kept telling me she was waiting on a piece of paper from them first. They told me there was no paper and that she was making that up. They talked to her several times and told her to give me the money but she wouldn't. She told me that the money wasn't mine and that it belonged to my son. She refused to give it to him. She wanted me to prove that I was his guardian even though she had the birth certificate and the genetics test and all. The court said there was no such thing and that she was in violation of Ga. Code 29-3-1 which states that money, property, etc. with a value of $15, 000.00 or less (The tax refund was for a bit over five thousand dollars) belonging to A Deceased person must be turned over immediately to the legal heir...which is my son, Taylor, the deceased's only child.
The only proof any person or establishment is allowed to ask for is proof that the heir is the child of the deceased which I provided to the asst. manager in the means of a Georgia State Genetics Test. This Georgia Code states that any person refusing to turn over the money or property is in violation of the law and can be prosecuted. I showed her the actual code printed out to her from the courthouse and she just laughed at it and told me she still wasn't going to do it. I told her that I would prosecute her and she grinned, saying, "Go ahead...call the cops if you want to, you're not getting that money". Finally, after a load of paperwork being provided to her, the legal dept. in Florida telling her she legally had to release that money to me, and my visit to another Suntrust Bank for help (in which they investigated and said there was no legal reason for her to hold the money), she called me and my son into her office where she told me again that she and the main lawyer in Florida decided that the money did belong to my son but that she has decided not to give it to us because it's not my money just to go out and blow.
I told her that she was causing us to get evicted from our apt. the following day and she laughed and said, "yes, i told our lawyer that and he says he knows it and that it's unfortunate but that it's TOO BAD." These were her exact words. I told her that I wanted the money sent back to the IRS then so I could just wait for a check and she told me "no" and (these are her exact words) "this money isn't going anywhere. It's gonna stay right here in my bank until I decide what to do with it". I told her she couldn't do that and she pretty much threw us out as she giggled. I'm not joking at all. She literally giggled at us. My son was devastated and I was humiliated. When i got home, I again called the lady who had been helping me on the phone and she said all that was a lie...that their lawyer never said anything like that and that the asst. manager had not even talked to the legal dept. that day as she said she had.
They were truly fed up with her and I'm sure you can check this all out with them should you choose to do so. Anyway, after waiting all this time, doing everything the asst. manager asked of me and more, the manager of the same branch told me to wait for a phone call that day in which the money would probably be released. The legal dept. told me that the phone call would consist of her telling me the money had been released and I could come and withdraw it. The lady there said that they actually wanted the asst. manager to have to call and tell me that after all the trouble she had put me through. So, I waited all day long. I'm talking all day. I did call a few times and each time I was told by the branch that the asst. manager couldn't come to the phone but that she said for me to wait by my phone for her call.
Finally, at about 6:30, just before that branch was to close, she called me. I was so excited when I got the call. I answered and she told me who she was and all and said, "ok, about your money, I just wanted to let you know that you're not getting a penny of it". i was totally shocked. I actually burst out crying. I told her that I was told that she was to release it. She said she knew all that but that no one was making her do anything and she wasn't giving it to me. She said "all you white people think you can get whatever you want in this world, but I'm going to show you that you can't here at Suntrust". She then hung up on me. Needless to say, I have never seen a penny of the money and when I tried to check on it today, The IRS says they haven't heard anything about it and the people at the 24 hour bank line told me that they had no idea what happened to it and that my account had been closed. I didn't close it and I can't believe that she would have the nerve to close my account on her own and for no reason.
My dad has had an account with Suntrust bank for more than 30 years. He has never had a bounced check or a negative balance and is in very good standing with them. He even offered to come up and sign anything he could to guarantee the money and the transaction himself and this asst. manager laughed at him also and said that "that's not going to help her either. I'm not giving her the money". He told her he was thinking about closing his account because of this and she smirked at him and said, "well, we have lots of other accounts, I'm sure your's closing won't even be noticed, Mr. Williams". How is that to treat a faithful and loyal 30+ year customer?...WOW!!...I was never rude to this woman. I never caused trouble at the bank or even let anyone know what was going on during all the time I was going through this. All the times she had me and my son standing there waiting, I never let on to any of the other customers that I was unhappy or having any type of problem. She had no right to treat me the way she did and certainly no right to talk to me the way she chose to either.
Can you believe that on the second day of all of this that she called me on the telephone at my home. I was so excited when my son told me who it was. I thought she was going to tell me that the money had been released. I picked up the phone (all happy and such) and She actually started yelling at me (just like a parent would yell at a child who was being very bad) saying " YOU BETTER NOT CALL THE 1-800 NUMBER AGAIN FOR HELP AND YOU BETTER NOT TRY TO CONTACT THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT AGAIN EITHER". Now, does she have the right to call a customer at home and literally scream at them and then hang up on them. I want you to know that I am just so upset by all this that I don't know what to do. I can't get over it. She ruined our lives and knowingly did so by her own choice. I have emailed James Wells, the President of Suntrust Bank about this but haven't received a reply yet. She just can't get away with this.