COA: Bank could charge back account after check is lost

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A man who withdrew nearly all of the money in a bank account is personally liable to pay back that money to the bank, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The bank had lost a check deposited into the account and the account holder was unable to help the bank identify the check writer to obtain a replacement check.

James R. Sapp had multiple bank accounts with Flagstar Bank and other banks in and out of state. He deposited $125,000 in late August 2005 into his account referred to as SF7 that was the account of an LLC he had formed. The check was a cashier’s check made up of various amounts from other banks paid to some of Sapps’ businesses as well as some unidentified amount of cash. Almost all of the money was gone from the account 16 days after the deposit; Sapp had deposited $100,000 from the SF7 account into an account to which only he had access.

In November 2005, Flagstar debited $125,000 from the SF7 account and was only able to recover nearly $2,000. This was after the bank pressed Sapp to help it identify who issued the previous check in order to obtain a replacement. In 2007, the bank sued Sapp for breach of contract, theft, conversion and unjust enrichment. The trial court ruled in favor of the bank on its claims and ordered Sapp to pay attorney fees.

The transaction was not final, as Sapp had argued, because the account agreement states that the account holder agrees to be liable for any account shortage resulting from a charge or an overdraft. He chose to withdraw funds from the SF7 account while the provision credit was in place, the COA ruled in James R. Sapp v. Flagstar Bank, FSB, 49A02-1311-PL-935.

“Had Sapp not written any of those checks, the account would still have held the $125,000 provision credit and would not have been overdrawn when that credit was revoked,” Judge John Baker wrote in finding Sapp liable for the shortage in the account.

Sapp argued the bank waited too long to notify him the check had been lost and that the transaction had been “finalized” based on language in the account agreement. The agreement allowed Sapp to withdraw the funds based on the provision credit, but it also put him on notice that he would be liable for any checks deposited in the account that are unpaid.

The judges upheld the order that Sapp pay the bank’s attorney fees, again citing the account agreement. They also remanded for the trial court to decide the amount of appellate attorney fees to which Flagstar may be entitled.


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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.