First Interstate Bank is targeted in a St. George woman's lawsuit claiming the institution refused to recredit $12,500 to her account that was wrongfully paid to her grandson.
The 5th District Court suit, filed by attorney Curtis Jensen on behalf of E. Jeanne Thompson Haile, says the bank did not follow reasonable commercial practices or standards in posting its checks, verifying the maker's signature or in guarding against forgeries.The suit specifically states that the bank allowed Haile's grandson, Kijikia Walker, to cash forged checks.
First Interstate Bank Area Manager Ed Sappington referred comment concerning the suit to the bank's attorney, Bob Goodman. Goodman declined comment Thursday.
Walker, 22, was sentenced last January to the Utah State Prison on five felony forgery counts. The prison sentence was stayed, and Walker is now on 36 months supervised probation and serving 68 days in the Washington County Jail.
The suit claims Haile ran out of personal banking account checks sometime between July and August 1990 and submitted a reorder form for new checks to the bank.
When she did not receive the replacement checks, Haile telephoned the St. George bank branch. An employee said she would reorder the checks and see that the first order was canceled.
A bank employee had reordered the checks, but, on her own volition, changed the name on the face of the checks from "E. Jeanne Thompson" to "E. Jeanne Thompson Haile," the suit alleged.
Sometime after Haile received the checks on Oct. 13, 1990, she left with her husband for Arizona and left Walker to house sit.
After she left, the checks she had originally ordered, which were to be canceled, were sent to her address. Walker subsequently obtained unauthorized possession of these checks and began purchasing various items with the checks by forging Haile's signature.
The forged checks made out to third parties totaled $2,500 while forged checks made out to cash were in excess of $12,500, the suit alleged.