BERKLEY, Mich. (WXYZ) - The attorney of a Ferndale woman says she was the victim of “banking while Hispanic.” She is now filing a lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank.
Erandy Pacheco attempted to deposit a check for roughly $9,500 into her Fifth Third Bank account on June 20 at the Berkley branch on Coolidge near Eleven Mile.
She claims the teller said she needed additional approval for the check, and later returned with a manager. Pacheco says the teller and manager asked several questions about the check, including how she earned it.
Pacheco received the check, written by the U.S. Treasury, after working a translator for the U.S. District Court for seven months.
“After a few minutes, I saw the manager looked over my shoulder and that’s when I turned around and I saw there were two police officers behind me,” Pacheco told 7 Action News.
Her attorney, Jack Jaffe, says the bank should’ve accepted the check and then held it until it cleared. Instead, Pacheco was handcuffed and taken into police custody.
She says she was kept at the Berkley police station for about two hours for questioning before being released to her husband, who is also a lawyer.
After additional checking, Berkley police released the valid check to Pacheco the next day.
Pacheco says she went to close her account at Fifth Third two days later when the same bank manager refused to apologize and threatened to call police on her and her husband. That’s when Pacheco says she decide to file the lawsuit.
“I just want somebody to be sorry for this,” said Pacheco. “I just want somebody to be accountable for all the stress they caused to me.”
The lawsuit was filed last week in Oakland County Circuit Court under Pacheco’s full name, “Erandy Pacheco Salazar.” It names several parties including Fifth Third Bank and Berkley Police. It also seeks at least $25,000 in damages.
When 7 Action News called the Berkley branch, we were told the bank manager no longer works there. The current manager declined to comment on pending litigation, and our calls to a corporate spokesman were not returned.
The Berkley police department says it does not discuss on-going legal action.
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