Accused Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan Can't Find a Bank Willing to Cash His Checks

Nidal Hasan's lawyer says the accused shooter can't find a bank.

July 30, 2010, 5:00 PM

Aug. 2, 2010 — -- The attorney for the man charged with last year's deadly shooting rampage at Texas' Fort Hood Army post says his client, who is still on the military's payroll, can't find a bank willing to cash his checks.

While Maj. Nidal Hasan sits in Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas, waiting for his next hearing in October, his lawyer, John Galligan, has been shopping around to banks trying to find a financial institution willing to take on his client as a customer.

"Various banks have refused, without any specificity, to permit Hasan to open a checking account where he can have his military pay deposited," Galligan told ABC News.

Hasan faces 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder stemming from the Nov. 5 shooting that fatally wounded 13 soldiers. If convicted, Hasan could face the death penalty.

Hasan still is receiving payment from the U.S. military because, according to a spokesman, he is still a service member .

"He is a major in the United States Army and will therefore be paid until he is no longer a major," said Lt. Col. Chris Garver. "So yes, he's still receiving payment."

According to Army records, Hasan stands to receive a check for about $6,000 every month. He is also eligible for what the Army calls an "incentive pay" that could be as much as $15,000 annually. Galligan declined to comment on how much Hasan is worth.

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Hasan's lawyer said that his client was notified about a month ago that his longtime bank, Bank of America, was no longer interested in holding his money.

"They gave us advance notice, yes, but it represents the discriminatory attitude and atmosphere that's pervasive in central Texas and in the Fort Hood community," said Galligan.

Diane Wagner, a representative for Bank of America, said of Galligan's claims, "We do not comment on customer relationships for privacy reasons."

Galligan said that among the banks into which he has tried to deposit Hasan's checks, the one that declined him and upset him the most was the Fort Hood National Bank.

"The bank's motto is 'serving those who serve,' but apparently that's not true in Hasan's case," said Galligan.

Messages left at Fort Hood National Bank for comment were not immediately returned. A welcome message on the bank's website said the institute has been serving the military community for more than 45 years.

Galligan said he's offered to have Hasan's checks deposited into a trust and also has provided banks with proof of his power of attorney but has still had no luck. The discrimination Hasan is facing, says Galligan, is a foreshadowing of what he'll likely face at trial.

"You've got all these banks marching in lockstep in a discriminatory manner against Hasan," said Galligan. "It's not like he's charged with any banking irregularities or money laundering. It's just outright discriminatory."

"How is he going to get a fair trial at Fort Hood if he can't even get a bank account?" said Galligan.

According to Shannon Phillips, the deputy general counsel for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, the banks that have rejected Hasan are entitled to do so.

"It's within a bank's right to do it," said Phillips. "I've seen banks close accounts because of suspicious activity or if a personal account is being used for business purposes. And the banks have every right to do so without any explanation."

"But it doesn't happen very often," added Phillips.

Phillips said that if Hasan had no banking missteps, it's entirely likely that the financial institutions don't want to be associated with Hasan because of "personal reasons."

"I think we can understand that," he said.

Galligan said that Hasan, who will be paralyzed for the rest of his life, is "coherent" and knows what is going on in terms of his finances.

"It's issues like this that are unnecessary bumps in the road for my client," said Galligan.

If found guilty, Hasan could face the death penalty.

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