New Jersey pastor files suit against Wells Fargo, state police after false arrest

Religion News Service | 4/8/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — As a Methodist minister, Rev. Jeffrey Edwards takes the 10 Commandments seriously.

Especially the ones about not stealing or bearing false witness.

Incident - Year - Checks - Bank

Both were broken, he said, in an incident last year when he was falsely arrested and wrongly charged with depositing forged checks into his bank.

It was a “traumatic” ordeal, said Edwards, pastor of United Methodist Church of Parsippany, a congregation in Morris County, New Jersey.

Edwards - Suit - March - Morristown - Superior

Edwards recently filed a civil suit in March in Morristown Superior Court, charging Wells Fargo Bank of negligently associating him as the suspect in a fraudulent check plot perpetrated April 16, 2018 at an ATM at a local branch. The 63-year-old says he wants the New Jersey State Police and Wells Fargo to be held responsible for the arrest and accompanying humiliation brought on by falsely labeling him a criminal.

He said that state police posted photos of him at the ATM, taken by Wells Fargo, on Facebook. Edwards learned about the photo after a parishioner texted him.

Photo - Wells - Fargo - Times - Hours

“I saw this photo of me, provided by Wells Fargo, had been shared 460 times in a few hours,” he said. “There was immediate panic that there would be hundreds of people in my local community who would recognize me.”

Edwards worried that people would believe he is guilty, especially at a time when “there has been a lot of broken trust with religious authority figures,” he said.

Edwards - Lawsuit - Ordeal - Checks - New

According to Edwards and the lawsuit, the ordeal started when four checks issued by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority were used by someone to counterfeit four separate fraudulent checks using the same check numbers and account numbers.

The fake checks, totaling over $6,000, were made payable to a woman named Tyler Mathis, according to published reports, and then were cashed at the same Wells Fargo branch Edwards had deposited his own checks at...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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