A prominent Filipino couple is suing JPMorgan, saying the investment bank sold off millions of dollars’ worth of jewels that they had kept inside their safety deposit boxes.
Jorge and Stella Araneta claim that JPMorgan started sending bills for their safe deposit boxes to the wrong address in 2016, according to Fortune. Due to the address mix-up, the couple fell behind on their payments to the bank. The Aranetas live in the Philippines but also own an apartment in Manhattan. They had seven safety deposit boxes in JPMorgan which they opened in 2006, but allege that the bank started sending invoices to an address in Louisiana in 2016, which led them to fall behind on payments.
The bank reportedly sent them warnings that the contents of their safety deposit boxes would be removed if they did not complete their pending payments. Those warnings were also sent to the wrong address, the Aranetas say.
After nearly one year of missed payments, JPMorgan drilled two of their safety deposit boxes to remove their contents, which included jewellery, precious metals and rare coins. Meanwhile, the bank could not successfully contact the couple until 2019, when they settled their account.
The Aranetas say that JPMorgan assured them their valuables would be returned to them. However, only 10 months later, the bank auctioned them off for $552,700 – a fraction of their value, according to Daily Mail.
The couple sued the bank on multiple counts in 2022. In court filings, JPMorgan said it “denies each and every allegation” made by the Aranetas.