A Greenbrier county judge has ruled that BB&T must return $93,500 to one of its customers.
Greenbrier County Senior Status Judge Joseph Pomponio ruled on Oct. 12 that BB&T return the funds it seized from the account of the Selwyn Vanderpool and Lila Vanderpool Irrevocable Living Trust in February 2014 when a criminal investigation indicated that the Vanderpools were being duped financially. Criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator were dropped in August 2014, but the money was never returned to the trust.
On Oct. 12, Mr. Vanderpool, 94, appeared in Greenbrier County Circuit Court alongside his attorney, Barry Bruce, who argued that BB&T had illegally seized the funds in 2014 after becoming suspicious that the Vanderpools were being swindled out of their money by their friend and sometime-business partner Joseph W. Boswell III.
Bruce said that even though Boswell has long been cleared of any wrongdoing, the bank never repaid the funds to Mr. Vanderpool (Lila Vanderpool died in February 2014).
BB&T counsel Danielle M. Walz argued that the bank stopped payment on the checks due to a “dispute over ownership” of the funds, and that the action had been taken in accordance with the customer service agreement signed by Vanderpool when the account was opened. Walz offered that BB&T place the funds into court custody pending the completion of the civil case between Vanderpool and BB&T. (Vanderpool and Boswell are suing BB&T, the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office and Cpl. Ben Hunt, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and its employee Drema Stanley.)
“That money is Mr. Vanderpool’s! Not the court’s!” Bruce exclaimed to Pomponio in an impassioned plea in court last week. “He is 94 years old! We want you to order that money to Mr. Vanderpool today.”
Pomponio was convinced: “If BB&T makes no claim to the money, and there’s no dispute (of ownership of the funds), I order the return of the funds to Mr. Vanderpool.”
Pomponio ordered that BB&T pay $93,500 plus interest to Vanderpool.