PNC Bank has forgiven the debt of a suburban Chicago mom whose child is battling cancer after she received a bogus check from a seemingly kind stranger.
Deni Evernden, of Brookfield, told NBC 5 on Thursday that she was charged overdraft fees from the bank that initially cleared the $3,500 check after she spent the money on rent and other bills.
"I thought it was a blessing at first; now I'm frustrated and angry," Evernden said of her experience.
Evernden is a single mom to three kids ages 10, 8 and 4. Her youngest, Anthony, was diagnosed with a type of Leukemia last year. He's now in remission and in long-term maintenance.
PNC Bank had forgiven her debt as of Friday evening. After seeing Evernden's story on NBC 5, a viewer dropped off a check for $3,500 at her house, as well as gifts for her children.
The family has had a Gofundme page up since last December and has also shared their son's story on other social media platforms. Evernden said she got an Instagram message in early September from what appeared to be a Baton Rouge-based company that offered to pay the family's bills for a month.
"I could not believe that a company would reach out and had heard our story," she said.
Evernden thanked the person and sent her address. A check from the purported company, Southern Livestock Supply, arrived days later.
"The mailman came to my door, asked if I was Deni," she said. "I said sure -- signed for a check."
She deposited it at PNC Bank in La Grange Park with a teller, she said. After the $3,500 cleared, she paid her rent of $2,400 then used the rest to cover other bills, she said.
Evernden said she didn't notice that her bank account was negative until she was on a trip last month that the Make-a-Wish Foundation had facilitated. Anthony, who loves animals, had wished to go to Disney World and pet dinosaurs.
When she called her bank she was told that the check was fraudulent, despite it having cleared. The bank told her to contact the company who sent her the check.
Evernden said she doesn't understand how someone could conceive of such a fraud. "Is it providing a laugh that he hurt us financially?"
A manager with Southern Livestock Supply Company confirmed to NBC Chicago that they had checks stolen and have received other calls about fraudulent checks in their name.
They said the matter is under police investigation. NBC Chicago has left a message with owner Parry Richardson for more information.