FROM MOUNTAIN MEDIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATED SEPT. 26, 1999
THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz
Why don't they just go ahead and tattoo us?
When my wife died last January, and the tenant of our rental property
in Phoenix picked the same week to announce he was departing, I took that
as a sign it might be a good time to sell the house.
Since the estate attorney's main business would be with the real estate
agent selling the house, I hired a Phoenix attorney to handle matters. All
went fine, and the house was sold in July. That meant that in August I
found myself with a check of five digits, representing the proceeds of that
sale. Since I had had a checking account with the Twin lakes branch of
Wells Fargo Bank (originally First Interstate) here in Las Vegas for eight
years, I went there to open a new account with that check -- the better to
keep track of the expenditures from that source.
The check was not payable to "The Estate of Leora Jean Suprynowicz."
Rather, it was payable to me, "Vin Suprynowicz, sole representative of the
estate of L.J. Suprynowicz."
Nonetheless, the ladies at Wells Fargo told me I could not deposit this
in an account bearing my own name; before I could use these funds to pay
medical bills and the like I was required to open and then deposit the
funds into an account titled "Estate of Leora Jean Suprynowicz."
Actually, they were wrong. Nonetheless, it didn't matter much to me, so I
docilely followed the ladies' instructions, calling my attorney in Phoenix
and running up hundreds of dollars in fees (thank goodness he had his
paralegal run the errands -- that only costs $80 per hour) acquiring from
the courts and Maricopa county clerk all the documents demanded by Wells
Fargo -- signed in ink and notarized -- and express-mailing them to me.
Forty-eight hours later, anxious to start paying off the bills, I was
back at the Wells Fargo office on Rancho near Bonanza.
But no, now the ladies informed me these hand-signed and notarized papers
were not adequate. Yes, they demonstrated I was the sole heir, authorized
agent, and surviving spouse of my wife's estate. But the documents were
from (start ital)Arizona(end ital). That would never do. I would have to go
down to the courts here in Nevada, and repeat the probate process I had
just spent thousands of dollars and six months completing in Arizona,
before Wells Fargo would allow me to cash, deposit, or make any use of the
proceeds from the sale of our house in Phoenix.
I may be stupid, but I know when I'm being shucked. The next day I went
to Bank West of Arizona, which was overjoyed to allow me to open an
account, deposit the title company's check, and draw on the funds
immediately. The fact that my court documents were from Arizona bothered
the nice folks at Bank West not a bit.
Again last weekend I had cause to recall that when Jeanne took a course
in web-page design at the community college a few years back (an
accomplished medical photographer, she changed careers and became a
computer graphics artist when we moved to Las Vegas), their class
assignment was to create an interactive web page for a fictitious business
entity. Jeanne created a lovely black-and-red-themed web page for a bank
called "Wells Fraudo," which came to town and promptly canceled everyone's
check guarantee cards, whereupon they instituted a series of service fees
so designed as to leave you with no money in your account at the end of the
month, no matter how much you deposited.
Her professor and fellow adult students laughed and laughed: They thought
the page was "right on target."
If only I'd listened.
On Saturday, Sept. 18, I went to the Wells Fargo Branch on Cheyenne
Avenue at Jones. There, I tried to cash my paycheck from the Las Vegas
Review-Journal, Nevada's largest daily and one of the city's largest
employers. Although I had been a customer in good standing at the bank for
eight years, and had a (small) positive balance in my account, neither the
young teller nor her froggy supervisor were willing to cash the check. It
was for more than $650, they explained, and "the computer is telling us
that's too large to cash," despite my presentation of two forms of
identification, including one with a photo.
I then took the check to the Fiesta, and to Texas Station. Neither of
these large casino-hotels had any trouble with the size of the check, nor
with my ample photo ID. However, they refused to cash the Review-Journal
paycheck unless I would submit to fingerprinting.
Unless you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you should not
submit yourself to fingerprinting. (I'm considering allowing myself to be
fingerprinted -- the last requirement I have not yet met -- in order to
obtain a state concealed-carry handgun permit. It galls me be treated like
a criminal in order to get a "permit" to exercise a Constitutional right,
but I may end up doing so, rather than have our Boys in Beige lock me up
should I ever have to defend myself.)
But to cash a paycheck?
A pawnshop where I'm known finally cashed my paycheck for me at 9 o'clock
Saturday evening -- no fingerprints required.
But my weekend of slight inconvenience may only be a foreshadowing of
what many of us will soon face, if this trend toward uniform,
government-regulated megabanks, and standardized national "Photo ID" with
digitized thumbprint or embedded microchip, is allowed to continue.
I already know people who refuse to fly and face the ignominy of metal
detectors, "identity papers, please," and "all baggage subject to random
search." Even driving the public roadways can now expose you to the kind of
random searches and document-checking that used to cause American movie
audiences to boo and hiss when they saw them depicted in foreign police
But once such intrusions become universal just to access your own
hard-earned funds, forget about any detail of your financial life remaining
"private" ... and woe be to him who in any way resists "getting with the
Now, does anyone know where I can buy a plastic thumb-cap inscribed with
the thumbprint of John Dillinger?
Vin Suprynowicz is autor of the new book, "Send in the Waco Killers,"
available at 1-800-244-2224.
Vin Suprynowicz, firstname.lastname@example.org
"The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it." -- John
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and
thus clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series
of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken
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