I sued my casino jackpot win – I’ve already lost $8,000 to hidden charges and was “then accused of stealing the money”.
A retiree should have celebrated when she won more than $12,000 on a slot machine last year.
Instead, 71-year-old Lizzie Pugh claimed she faced racial discrimination when three bank employees told her the casino jackpot check she was about to deposit was fraudulent, according to her lawsuit.
Pugh was going to Fifth Third Bank in Livonia, Michigan to open a savings account and deposit her winnings on April 11, 2022, when three white employees stopped her.
She gave the check to the employees saying it was valid and gave them a copy of their driver’s license.
The check had Pugh’s name, the same address as her ID, and the address of the Soaring Eagle Casino where she had won the jackpot.
The former Detroit public school worker claimed she was forced to confront the staff, who allegedly initially refused to return the check to her.
“I couldn’t really believe they did this to me,” Pugh said The Detroit Free Press. “I was devastated. I kept asking, ‘How do you know the check isn’t real?’ … And they just insisted it was cheating … I was just scared.”
In response, Fifth Third Bank, NA and Fifth Third Financial Corporation denied Pugh’s allegations, including that their employees believed the check was “fraudulent.”
“We are committed to fair and responsible banking and prohibit discrimination of any kind. Based on our examination of the claims, we believe that the facts differ from those alleged,” the statement said at the time.
“Our employees are trained to help each customer with their banking needs, and our employees follow procedures that make opening any new account easier.”
Pugh’s attorney, Deborah Gordon, said in a statement that what happened to her client “is another example of the hurdles and humiliations that black Americans face as they try to get through the day.” It’s not just young black men who are being portrayed.”
“Fortunately, Michigan has a strict law that prohibits discrimination in ‘public places,’ including banks.”
Pugh was able to cash the check at another bank.
“I had this check and I didn’t want it on me now,” she said CNN. “I was so upset; I just took a picture of the bank on the way out because I didn’t know the address.”
Yolanda McGee, Pugh’s niece, said her aunt was afraid to go into banks or other businesses after the alleged incident.
“She had some events in her life living as a young girl in Alabama where she faced discrimination and you know it’s heavy on her heart.”
McGee added that she had to convince her aunt to file the lawsuit because Plugh appeared too scared to do anything.
“Based on our examination of the claims, we believe the actions of our employees have been misinterpreted,” Fifth Third Bank said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, we regret that Ms Pugh felt mistreated following her interactions in our branch, as our staff’s actions were consistent with our process and the twin objectives of serving our customers while preventing potential fraud incidents affecting both the bank as well as the bank.” and our customers.”