Surprise fee for local stimulus check gets ugly

Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 02:25:01-04

Millions of Americans are still anxiously awaiting their stimulus checks from the government.

One local man who was about to get his check from his tax preparer says things got heated when he noticed a processing fee.

Aaron Monreal's said he went to J&G Armadillo Tax Service on Friday to pick up his stimulus check.

He anticipated it would be for $1,200, but it wasn't. He says $19 had been taken out.

Monreal says when he questioned business owner Jeannette Cortez about why, words were exchanged.

“I said, ‘What are you doing? That's my money,” Monreal said. “And she said ‘That's not your money, it's our money. And I'm rejecting it. And that's when she ripped (the check) up. And she said ‘F you.’ ”

At first no one at J&G Armadillo would talk to us about what happened. However, a few hours later, they changed their minds.

“He started cussing at her for $19,” said co-owner George Cortez. “Nineteen dollars? Does she have any remorse about ripping up the check? No.”

Cortez did call police, but no charges were filed.

As for the fee, Monreal isn't the only person questioning it. We've received messages from people asking about its legality.

George Cortez claims the business doesn't get any of it. He said the $19 is a processing fee that goes to a third party -- a bank in Waco.

Cortez says if the person who receives the check chooses to do their 2019 taxes with J&G, the company will give them $11 back.

The IRS said tax service businesses such as J&G can legally assess fees.

Wednesday morning, Aaron Monreal got his stimulus check from J&G Armadillo Tax Service.

And, yes, the $19 processing fee was deducted.