American Express on the Hook for $3.5 Billion Charged to 'Current Resident'

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 SPOKESWOMAN for the credit-card giant American Express has confirmed reports that the credit company has found itself owing $3.5 billion that an anonymous group of crafty chargers recently billed to the ever-popular catalog name, "Current Resident."

Said Mary Daley, "Apparently a bunch of ne'er-do-wells got together and charged literally billions of dollars of catalog items to a bogus account. Very funny. I suppose these people think that playing with credit is a game, but we at American Express don't look kindly upon people taking our money and doing unethical things with it."

Regulations surrounding TARP bailout funds prevent American Express from paying back the large debt with stimulus money. "Therefore," said Ms. Daley, "we are forced to make only minimum payments on the debt for the time being."

Ms. Daley learned from the American Express accounting department that the current minimum payment on $3.5 billion is $15 per month. "At that rate," she said, "we'll never get ahead!"

As a result of the enormous bill suddenly owed by the credit-card giant, the company's interest rate for repayment has instantly skyrocketed from 9.5% to 23.4%.

"I'm not quite sure how that's legal," said Ms. Daley, "but our attorneys tell us we can call customer support if we have any questions."

American Express also discovered, by way of a terse form letter, that its credit score has plummeted because it had missed its first minimum payment.

"We had every intention of paying ourselves on time," insisted Ms. Daley, "but we changed the due date without giving ourselves any notice. Do I look like a mind reader, for heaven's sake??"

The collections department at American Express—alerted to the $3.5 billion owed, the missed payments, and what it calls "the combative and uncooperative demeanor of Ms. Daley and others" who have, it says, "attempted to hijack the truth by leaking misinformation to the press"—has initiated legal action to garner assets.

Ms. Daley, poised to lose her job, her home, and her health insurance, has joined a commune in Nicaragua.