Black Retired Teacher ‘Devastated’ After Tellers Refused to Deposit Her Check

Banking While Black

Lizzie Pugh, a Black Detroit public schools retiree, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that white employees at Fifth Third Bank in Livonia refused to cash and deposit her slot machine jackpot check. She won it during a church outing to the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant.

The 71-year-old alleges that three white bank employees told her the five-figure check was fraudulent and and refused to give it back, reports Tresa Baldas of the Detroit Free Press. Pugh, who is a deacon at her church, says it’s blatant racism.

“I couldn’t really believe they did that to me,” Pugh tells the Freep. “I was devastated. I kept asking, ‘How do you know the check is not real?’ … And they just insisted that it was fraudulent. … I was just terrified.”

Pugh finally received her check back from the bank and deposited it at a Chase bank. It cleared the next day.

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