The First Department determined defendant bank (Citibank) and Citi Credit were not liable for cashing checks which were signed by plaintiff but which were altered by plaintiff’s bookkeeper to pay off her credit card bills. Plaintiff was notified of the fraud by Citibank:
Citibank’s actual knowledge of the fraud in February 2016 is, at this pleading stage, enough to sustain the claim of commercial bad faith that would render Citibank ineligible for the protection of UCC 3-405(1)(c) … , i.e., the “fictitious payee” or “padded payroll” defense … .
… UCC 3-405(1)(c) bars plaintiffs’ claims against Citi Credit. Nowhere in any of their papers — either the complaint or Dr. Weiser’s opposition affidavit — do plaintiffs allege other than conclusorily that Citi Credit, like Citibank a subsidiary of defendant Citigroup, Inc., had actual knowledge of the fraud. …
Although plaintiffs’ claims against Citibank are not barred by UCC 3-405(1)(c), they are barred by plaintiffs’ failure to satisfy a condition precedent to suit created by UCC 4-406(4) and Citibank’s checking account rules and regulations as set forth in its CitiBusiness Client Manual … . Plaintiffs failed, as required by the manual, to “notify us [Citibank] in writing within 30 days after we send or make available to you [plaintiffs] your account statement and accompanying items of any errors, discrepancies, or unauthorized transactions.” Weiser v Citigroup, Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 06440, First Dept 9-3-19