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Chase Is Shutting Down Porn Stars’ Bank Accounts, Some Say As Part Of A Government Crackdown

By 04.29.14

People involved in the porn industry are having their bank accounts shut down in a rash of account closures by Chase bank. The JP Morgan subsidiary that swallowed Washington Mutual in 2008 closed accounts owned by Teagan Presley, Layton Benton (according to TMZ), Dakota Skye (via XBiz) and Stoya (according to VICE), among others. The letter I obtained from Presley’s husband (whose account was also shut down, as they were linked), which you can see a copy of below, reads:

April 16, 2014

[Name]

We will be closing your account(s) ending in [number] on May 11, 2014
Reference Case Number 5621363

Dear Ashley Ann Erickson:

We recently reviewed your account and determined that we will be closing it on May 11, 2014. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

We want you to have enough time to complete pending transactions and open an account at another bank. Here are some actions to take in the coming days:

[instructions on cancel automatic payments and stopping deposits]

You may close your account before the date we’ve provided. Your account agreement says that either of us may close your account at any time, without notice and without a reason.

We will mail you a check for the remaining balance in your account 10 business days after it is closed.

If you have questions, please call us at 1-877-382-8854

Sincerely,

Chase Customer Service

I’d be the first to try to organize a mass pullout of Chase over this (I already meant to take my money out after the credit union push a few years back but never go around to it), but it’s a little unclear at this point whether this rash of shut downs is coming from the banks themselves (star Chanel Preston had an account shut down by City National Bank in LA last May) or at the behest of the Department of Justice.

VICE thinks it may have something to do with something called “Operation Choke Point,” a “targeted effort to shut down as many as 30 separate industries by making it impossible for them to access banking services.”

“Operation Choke Point is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don’t like,” Keating wrote. “Banks must then ‘choke off’ those customers’ access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.”

Keating said the highly secretive operation was launched in early 2013. That’s when porn stars started to complain to the media that their bank accounts were being shut down without explanation.

So far, the only connection to porn I can see is timing, as everything I’ve read about Operation Choke Point thus far is that it’s meant as a, let’s call it “creatively legal,” method of disrupting business for payday loan lenders and other admittedly scummy businesses. Says The Hill blog: “Federal law enforcers are targeting merchant categories like payday lenders, ammunition and tobacco sales, and telemarketers.”

However, it’s quite possible porn just hasn’t been mentioned, for the same reason your sexy bits are referred to as “unmentionables.” Part of Operation Choke Point’s stated goal is to go after “high-risk” merchants. And “pornography” is one category of merchant identified as “high risk” by the FDIC.

FDIC-High-Risk

FDIC


Does that mean Chase is going so far as to close the personal bank accounts (whose deposits and withdrawals aren’t even connected to porn business) of porn stars? It seems insane, but there’s no better explanation as of yet. Chase has had no comment so far (I’ve reached out myself but haven’t gotten a response).

The bottom line is, it will be interesting to see whether these porn star account closures were initiated by the banks themselves, at the behest of the DOJ, or some sketchy combination of the two.

It would be just perfect if the same government that failed to send anyone to jail over the financial crisis or the mass laundering of billions in drug money was now going after people who make porn. Yes, you should be pissed about this. We’ll be following up with our porn contacts to try to figure out what’s going on.

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Teagan Presley




TAGSCHASEOPERATION CHOKE POINTPORNPORN STAR BANK ACCOUNT CLOSURESTEAGAN PRESLEY

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