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New Jersey Pastor Suing Over Case Of Mistaken Identity In Bank Fraud Investigation

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey pastor is suing, claiming his bank mistakenly sent his photo to police investigating a case of fraud.

The pastor spoke exclusively to CBS2's Ali Bauman.

Jeffrey Edwards has regularly deposited checks at his local Wells Fargo Bank for years. On one particular day last year, Edwards said someone else happened to use this same ATM to deposit fraudulent checks.

When police came to investigate, the pastor said the bank handed his photo over by mistake.

Pastor Jeffrey Edwards on ATM surveillance cameras. (Credit: NJ State Police)

"I'm taken into an interrogation room and they lay down these photos of myself and ask me 'are those you?' and I tell them what I've been saying all along – yup… I'm pretty sure that's me and they say 'why'd you do it? This proves you did it' and I said no there's a technology error," the 63-year-old said.

Edwards said he instinctually called police to clear up this mistake after seeing his picture posted by New Jersey State Police in connection with the incident at the Wells Fargo on Route 46 last spring.

Wells Fargo Bank in New Jersey(Credit: CBSN New York)

The pastor from United Methodist Church claims his bank mixed up the photos taken from their ATM when they were working with the authorities.

"I'm a wanted man for having done nothing and my picture's getting disseminated and it said, 24 hours in, it had been shared 463 times.

A judge dismissed all the charges against him in January. Last week, the pastor got a letter from Wells Fargo apologizing, writing "we found that a human error was made, which led to these photos being produced."

(Credit: CBS2)

Now that Edwards is suing over the apparently false allegations, New Jersey State Police would only say it does not comment on pending litigation.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson told CBS2 they "apologize and regret the error."

"We are reviewing our procedures to ensure something similar does not happen again," the statement continued.

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