Jeff and Brenda Babcock own Zoka Coffee Roasters in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood. Recently the business was hit with a jolt after an employee took off with more than $22,000 of its money.
It happened in 2011. The employee was depositing checks payable to Zoka into a personal account at Chase Bank.
"None of the checks were made out to this person, nor were they endorsed,” explained Jeff.
The Babcocks had a hard time tracking the theft because the employee was able to hide it.
“We didn't know about it because she would then erase the invoice from our accounting system so that no bill, no check, no nothing,” said Jeff.
But eventually it caught up with the employee. She was found guilty of theft and ordered to pay back the business, but the Babcocks have yet to get their cash. So they've turned to Chase Bank for their money.
“How this can get by 41 times or 43 checks is beyond us; that it could go on for several months and not one person noticed that this is a company check going into a personal account,” said Brenda.
The Babcocks attorney sent a letter to Chase claiming the bank was negligent in processing the deposits. The letter also asked for a full refund. Months passed with no response, so the couple decided to call me.
“That a bank wouldn't take the responsibility up front and say, oh my gosh, we're so sorry that that happened. I'm very surprised,” said Jeff.
I reached out to Chase Bank and after several days of negotiating, the two parties reached an agreement. Neither is giving details, but the Babcocks say they're happy.
Bottom line: Know who you're doing business with, especially those handling your money. Never give all the responsibility to one person because too much trust could be costly.