Bank responds to lawsuit, alleges that bills in question were fake

By Josh Flory

A bank that was sued over a counterfeit money accusation has responded in court, and says the bills in question were fakes.

United Community Bank, a Georgia lender with Knoxville-area branches, was sued in July in connection with a 2007 incident at a Lenoir City office. The suit alleged that plaintiff Vicki Childs obtained $700 - including six $100 bills - from the drive-through window of the branch, but returned several days later with the six $100 bills and deposited four $100 bills to cover her house payment.

After getting a call from the bank, the suit said, she and another plaintiff returned to the branch and were ordered by a Loudon County Sheriff's deputy to raise their hands. The suit said they were removed from the branch, handcuffed and placed over the hood of a sheriff's patrol car, and while under arrest the bank refused to provide the bills in question to a detective who asked for them.

In a response filed in August, United Community said the bills were actually provided to the U.S. Secret Service, "which confirmed that the bills were, in fact, counterfeit."

The suit also alleged that during the incident, Childs said she received the $100 bills from the bank, but a bank security officer called her a liar. In its response, the bank denied that claim.

Also sued in the case were Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider and Deputy Chad Estes, who filed a joint response in August. Their filing admitted that Estes entered the bank and asked the plaintiffs to raise their hands, but denied that he drew his weapon or used profanity.

That filing said the plaintiffs were "appropriately handcuffed" and asked certain questions.