A woman in Arizona says her life savings of $120,000 has disappeared from her bank account – and her bank is now giving her the boot.
Margaret Lomax says she transferred the money to her Citibank account from a regional California bank called Farmers & Merchants, reports the CBS-affiliated news station KPHO.
Lomax says her Citibank account initially showed the money had arrived, but soon after her debit card was declined.
“[The money] was actually right there on the screen. And then poof! It just disappeared.”
Citibank then sent Lomax a notice in the mail saying she breached the bank’s terms of agreement, the money had been sent back to its “rightful owner,” and her account would be terminated in 60 days.
Lomax then contacted Farmers & Merchants, who told her the money is gone.
“I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m climbing the walls. There are nights that I’ll go through half a box of Kleenex crying…
My biggest fear is that they sent it somewhere and somebody else got it, and they are saying ‘Christmas came early this year!’
I’d like my money back. I’d like to buy a home so I can live my last 20-30 years comfortably.”
Despite the termination notice from Citibank, both banks say they are now investigating the matter.
Reports of banking customers dealing with abrupt account closures due to concerns of suspicious behavior have ramped up in recent years.
The number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) submitted by banks to law enforcement was about 830,000 in 2014.
That number has steadily increased, with about 1.4 million SARs reported in 2021.
However, according to the Banking Policy Institute, just 4% of SARs submitted by banks to law enforcement result in a follow-up, and a small fraction of the follow-ups result in arrests and convictions.