Palisades Park, Mariner’s Bank settle lawsuit over stolen money
The borough lost $497,655 in four unauthorized electronic payments issued directly from its Mariner’s Bank accounts in January 2019.

In Palisades Park, New Jersey, a legal settlement was reached between Mariner’s Bank and the borough over the draining of $497,655 from the borough’s accounts in 2019 through fraudulent bank transfers. The borough’s lawsuit against Mariner’s Bank cited breach of contract, negligence, and more, though the specific details of the settlement remain under wraps due to a gag order.

Interestingly, the story brings to light the use of fax in a crucial procedure between the borough and the bank. For more than a decade, a multistep process was followed, which required the borough to fax a wire request to the bank, containing information about the account, beneficiary, dollar amount, and description of the transfer. The bank would then respond with an “outgoing wire transfer request” form, which the borough would complete and fax back to the bank, with confirmation through a phone call.

Between January 19 and 24, 2019, unauthorized transactions were made from the borough’s account through the bank’s online banking system, which did not follow this established procedure. Yet, it was a Wells Fargo branch in California that detected the suspicious activity and notified the local police department.

The situation raises a compelling anecdote about the use of faxing within the financial industry, showcasing how this method of communication played an essential role in a longstanding practice between a bank and its client. The specific protocol involving fax communication was so ingrained that deviations from it led to nearly half a million dollars in unauthorized transfers going undetected for nearly a week.

In an era where much of banking and finance has embraced rapid technological changes, the story offers an unusual insight into how a specific process tied to faxing had become a norm for both parties involved. It may not be a practice that gains headlines often, but here it is – an essential part of a significant transaction process that affected many lives in Palisades Park.