Feds Probe Bank Gouging at Prisons

The Treasury Department is investigating Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase’s contracts with federal prisons. “In response to the recent media reports concerning the selection of and high fees charged by these two financial agents,” the government will probe the “awarding and administration” of the contracts, said Treasury Inspector General Eric M. Thorson. This month, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Bank of America and Chase have exclusive access to 214,00 federal inmates under contracts awarded to them 15 years ago by the Treasury Department. The report alleges that the contracts lack competitive binding or transparency requirements. Bank of America has received at least $76.3 million from the federal government for managing inmates’ bank accounts for the menial salaries they receive for prison work. A Treasury document shows Chase has charged some 50,000 released prisoners $2 fees for withdrawing money and $1.50 for leaving an account inactive for three months.