Bank Refuses to Deposit Wrongfully Convicted Man’s Compensation Check for 23 Years in Prison

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After spending 23 years in jail for a murder he didn’t commit, Chase Bank turned Darryl Fulton away 2 separate times when he tried to deposit his compensatory check from the state of Illinois for being wrongfully imprisoned.

Chase has admitted they made a mistake by refusing to deposit Fulton’s state issued check for $169,876.

“I’m just trying to deposit my check,” Fulton told the Chicago Tribune. “I just wanted to be treated like anyone else.”

DNA evidence proved Fulton innocent after he spent 23 years in prison.

Attorney Kathleen Zellner questions whether Fulton’s race played a role in the bank refusing to deposit the check.

According to Zellner, the first time Fulton tried to deposit his money, the bank said that she would have to endorse the check because her firm’s name was underneath Fulton’s, even though it was Fulton’s name in the “pay to the order of” field. The law firm’s name was only on the check because that is where it was mailed.

The second time was even more ridiculous. Zellner said Chase claimed the check would have to be deposited in her account because Fulton signed above her name.  Zellner was even on the phone with bank employees, but they still refused to deposit it into the Fulton’s account.

Chase has now admitted they “should have accepted (Fulton’s) check during his initial visit.”

“We did offer to deposit the check on his return visit and have reached out to him to clear up any confusion,” the bank said. “We regret the error and apologize for the inconvenience.”

Zellner accuses the bank of treating him differently because of his race.

“I find it particularly outrageous because he was wrongfully convicted,” Zellner said. “The check is from the state of Illinois to him and I can’t attribute any other reason except they’re discriminating against him because he’s a black male.”

Fulton and Nevest Coleman were both convicted in the 1994 killing of Antwinica Bridgeman after being coerced into confessing.

The Tribune reported:

Both men say they were coerced into confessing by detectives with a history of alleged misconduct and immediately recanted. They each described abuse at the hands of Chicago police officers.

Fulton and Coleman were sentenced to life in prison for the murder, but recently discovered DNA evidence matched a serial rapist. Prosecutors dropped charges against the men last winter, and in March a Cook County judge awarded the men certificates of innocence.

Both men have pending civil rights lawsuits against the city of Chicago in the case.