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Amin v. Suntrust Bank

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 11, 2014

CHIRAG AMIN, Plaintiff,
v.
SUNTRUST BANK; CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA; RENELL LEWIS; WESTERN UNION; ASSOCIATED BANK, N.A.; NATIONAL ARBITRATION FORUM; UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC.; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES; GOOGLE, INC.; ABB, LTD.; and TAYLOR MARK; Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Chirag Amin filed his complaint on May 28, 2014, against a number of Defendants-SunTrust Bank ("SunTrust"), Catholic University of America ("Catholic University"), Renell Lewis, Western Union, Associated Bank, N.A. ("Associated Bank"), National Arbitration Forum, United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS); Chicago Sun-Times (the "Sun-Times"), Google, Inc. ("Google"), ABB, Ltd. ("ABB"), and Taylor Mark. R. 1. His complaint contains eight counts against these Defendants, including a violation of the Lanham Act ("Counts I, II, and III"), a violation of the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") ("Counts IV"), breach of contract ("Count V"), misrepresentation ("Count VI"), breach of fiduciary duty ("Count VII"), and fraud and deceit ("Count VIII"). For the following reasons, the complaint, R. 1, is dismissed.

BACKGROUND

The factual allegations supporting Amin's complaint arise out of an advertisement for the position of "Bookkeeper, Payroll Pay Receiver, " which Amin discovered in the classified advertisement section of the Sun-Times. R. 1 ¶ 14. The advertisement was in the "Help-Wanted" section from May 27, 2010, until June 23, 2010. Id. The Sun-Times itself was not offering this position.

Amin inquired about this work opportunity on June 2, 2010, by sending an email to what was purportedly the email address for the "recruiting department." Id. On June 3, 2010 Amin received a response email from "Taylor Mark"[1] describing the job as a part-time, "independent contractor" position and summarizing the position's responsibilities, including "processing payments for goods or services via channels such as Multi-level Marketing (E-Bay)." Id. ¶ 16. The response also stated that the position was affiliated with ABB, Ltd., a foreign corporation, part of the ABB Group. Id. The account Taylor Mark used to send the email was a Google "Gmail" account. Id. ¶¶ 41-42. Amin replied to Taylor Mark's email on June 3, 2010, sending certain personal information that Taylor Mark requested. Id. ¶ 17.

On June 7, 2010, Taylor Mark confirmed that Amin was accepted for the position and provided him with a staff ID number. Id. Taylor Mark also provided Amin with additional details about receiving and processing of payments required for the position. Id. Amin did not know the specifics regarding payment or payroll processing. Id.

On June 18, 2010, Amin received a check for $2, 450 issued in his name from Catholic University with SunTrust as its paying bank. Id. ¶ 18. Amin received the check via UPS overnight service. Id. He had not done any "work" for the position prior to receiving the check aside from responding to Taylor Mark's June 3, 2010 email. Per instruction from Taylor Mark, Amin deposited this check at his bank, Associated Bank, on June 22, 2010, waited twenty-four hours for the check to clear, and then on June 23, 2010, withdrew 90% of the money. Id. ¶¶ 19-20. 10% of it remained in Amin's account. Id. Later that day, as per additional instructions from Taylor Mark, Amin took the money he had just withdrawn and sent it via Western Union money transfer service provided at 910 North Farnsworth Avenue in Aurora, Illinois, to Anthony McMullen, a purported financial representative of ABB, Ltd. Id. ¶¶ 20-21. On June 24, 2010, Western Union's online records and Taylor Mark both confirmed that the money had been received. Id. ¶ 21.

On June 25, 2010, Amin received another check via UPS overnight service from Catholic University for $3, 000 with SunTrust again as the paying bank. Id. Like before, Amin deposited the check at Associated Bank, waited twenty-four hours for the check to clear, withdrew most of the funds, and transferred the funds via Western Union to Anthony McMullen. Id. ¶ 23.

On June 30, 2010, according to Western Union's online records, the money was "picked up" or received. Id. Nevertheless, Taylor Mark informed Amin in several emails that Anthony McMullen had not picked up or received the money Western Union transferred. Id. ¶ 24. Accordingly, Amin returned to the Western Union authorized agent at 910 North Farnsworth Avenue in Aurora, Illinois, to verify the information in the online records. Id. ¶ 25. Amin alleges that a customer service agent told Amin that the funds were "Paid in Error" and that the amount of $2, 700 would be refunded to him within twenty business days. Id.

Later that day, Amin learned that his bank account had a negative balance because SunTrust had dishonored the first check Amin received from Taylor Mark and Amin's bank, Associated Bank, had reduced his balance by the amount of that plus bank fees. Id. ¶ 26. That evening, Amin sent an "online transaction inquiry to Western Union for discrepant, questionable money transfer status per information from Taylor Mark, Western Union's online records, and customer service information that funds were Paid in Error.'" Id. ¶ 27.

On July 1, 2010, Amin met with a personal banker at Associated Bank in Aurora, Illinois, where he learned that the check's issuer, Catholic University, had returned the check. Id. ¶ 28. The banker instructed Amin to contact Catholic University about the check. Id. On July 2, 2010, Amin called and emailed Renell Lewis, the Director of Treasury Services at Catholic University, regarding the returned check. Id. ¶ 29. Amin claims that he was "unable to reach [Renell Lewis] or speak directly with any person in [the] office." Id.

On July 6, 2010, Amin sent a facsimile to Catholic University's Office of Vice President for Finance to inquire about the returned check. Id. ¶ 30. He again alleges that he "did not receive any verifiable and satisfactory response or definitive actions on part of CUA, its Treasury Department officers or office to correct the [negative balance] on [his] bank account." Id. On July 7, 2010, Amin learned that Catholic University also dishonored the second check for $3, 000. Id. This caused Amin's bank account to become inaccessible due to insufficient funds resulting from the two returned checks and bank fees. Id. ¶ 31.

According to Amin, Western Union's "Terms and Conditions" require any dispute regarding money transfers to be submitted to the National Arbitration Forum ("NAF") for arbitration proceedings. Id. ¶¶ 73-74. Amin alleges that he contacted NAF regarding this situation, but NAF stated in a letter dated July 7, 2010, that "it lack[ed]... authority to resolve money transfer dispute[s] since Western Union was not associated [with NAF] or subject to NAF's jurisdiction[.]" Id. ¶ 74. Amin claims this was a violation of Western Union's terms and conditions, and he now lacks a "legitimate, transparent forum to address, resolve, and verify the legitimacy of [the] ...


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