An Idaho man accuses a Utahn and a resident of New York of fraud - and alleges that one of the world's biggest banks breached its fiduciary duty to protect him.
The U.S. District Court lawsuit was filed by Edward Johnson, city of residence not listed, against G. Lawrence Critchfield, a Utahn; Milton Gaylis of New York state; Inter European Exports Inc., a New York company owned by Gaylis; and Chase Manhattan Bank, based in New York City.The lawsuit says Critchfield and Gaylis induced Johnson to put $200,000 in a "risk free" deposit with the bank, money that was supposed to facilitate a purchase of Texas fertilizer to be sold in Asia. Johnson went to New York City and met with Gaylis in the office of David Bauman, manager of a Chase Manhattan branch.
"During the meeting with Bauman, both Johnson and Gaylis informed him that the money would be deposited in an Inter European account requiring the joint signatures of Johnson and Gaylis to withdraw the money," the suit adds.
However, in March 1997 Gaylis "telephoned Bauman at Chase Bank and instructed him to release the $200,000 to Gaylis and/or Inter European."
The bank released the money to Gaylis or his company without Johnson's permission, the lawsuit alleges.
"Neither Bauman nor Chase Bank attempted to contact Johnson to inform him of Gaylis' request or to secure his consent," it says.
Actually, no legitimate business deal involving Texas fertilizer was in the offing, Johnson claims. Instead, he says, Johnson and Gaylis schemed to separate him from his money. The lawsuit seeks return of the $200,000 plus interest and court costs.