82-Year-Old Woman Sues Chase To Recover Life Savings

Chase is refusing to honor a cashiers check for $19.700.22, 82-year-old widow Willie Floyd’s life savings. Willie stored the check, originally drawn by her late-husband in 1985, in a $10 per year safe deposit box at the local bank. When she tried to shift the funds into a regular savings account last year, she was told that the check expired after five years, and that her life savings now belonged to the state.

She hired a lawyer, Tarena Washington Franklin, who said she was directed to bank officials in Louisiana, who told her that the money had been given to the State of Wisconsin as unclaimed.

“I checked with the state, and it was not there,” Franklin said. “That money has to be somewhere, and we couldn’t get any answer from them. We filed a lawsuit to get their attention.”

Franklin noted that the check does not have an expiration date.

“What they’re doing, it’s unjust,” Franklin said of bank officials. “It will clearly be unjust enrichment for the bank if they are allowed to keep the money.”

Joshua Stubbins, a local lawyer representing the bank, filed a written response to Franklin’s lawsuit. He said a cashier’s check that is uncashed after five years is presumed to be “abandoned” under state law. He added that the bank “did not willfully or negligently commit a wrongful, illegal or inappropriate act,” and that the case should be dismissed.

Willie could have safeguarded her savings—and earned interest—by keeping her money in an FDIC-insured savings account. She claims to have learned a different lesson: “I didn’t even cook dinner last night,” she said recently. “I should have just buried that money in the backyard.”

Woman sues bank in hopes of recovering life savings [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
(Photo: Benny Sieu)

Comments

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  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    I wonder if the fact that these older folks were kids during the Great Depression has anything to do with their unwillingness to put their money in a bank.

  2. Saboth says:

    Might sound racist, but a lot of African Americans where I work don’t put money in the bank at all. They cash it out and use cash to pay for everything. Perhaps they don’t trust “The Man” (although I know quite a few of them owe child support and don’t want that money available to be withdrawn electronically).

  3. Falconfire says:

    @DeeJayQueue: ding dingdingdingdingding We have a WINNAR.

    Ask anyone born before 1920 and they have a inherent distrust of banks and ANYONE suggesting they use them. They also have a tendency to stock up large amounts of non-perishables.

    Both my grandmothers where like that, and not surprisingly bother went through the great depression. They kinda got over their bank fears, but they where still there and we often found a lot of money around their houses despite also having money in the bank.

  4. rolla says:

    well, now that she’s “alive,” she should get her money back.

  5. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    Crazy lady did what? I love the “We filed a lawsuit to get their attention” part. I bet she winds up paying most of the money to the lawyer if she ever gets it back.

  6. Pink Puppet says:

    @Falconfire: I concur as well. My grandparents keep their money in a safe in their house, and think I’m being a little reckless not to stash something away like they are.

  7. FessLove says:

    Under state law, the check was considered abandoned. Thats unfortunate. If the money was turned over to the state, then there should be a record somewhere. I can’t really blame the state or chase for this though. Chase claims they did what they were legally required to do, and to be quite honest, a bank as large as chase finding what happened to the money on ONE check from TEN years ago could pose problems. I feel sorry for the lady, but in reality, ignorance of the law is no excuse. I hope this ends up well for the lady

  8. phalex says:

    “Unjust enrichment” indeed. If the old lady had owed a debt that was overlooked or something, that’s one thing. The bank just took advantage of a bullshit technicality and got money it WASN’T owed — money it should never have been able to get. Stupid banks.

  9. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    These state abondonment laws are a joke, almost infringing on illegal it seems. I understand why they were written, which in California it seems they were written to keep the bank or other financial institution from profiting from something like what this woman had in her safe deposit box.

    Washington Mutual did this to my girlfriends parents. Even though they had an open and working and often used bank account with Wamu, along with a safe deposit box, someone decided at the bank that the safe deposit box was abondoned, never bothered to attempt to contact them, and sent over 15k worth of stocks, bonds etc to the state.

    Wamu is refusing to help now and the state cant find any record of it and needs information from the bank. Its a mess. I’d say keep your money under your mattress or in a safe in your house, but we all know how that ends if the police come in and find something illegal.

    All your money belongs to us!

  10. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    Not for nothing, but a Willie Floyd has unclaimed property with the state of Wisconsin. I wonder if its her.

  11. milty45654 says:

    um…wtf do you store a check in a safe deposit box instead of cashing it and putting it in the bank?

  12. homerjay says:

    I find it unfortunate that her “Life Savings” amounts to the approximate value of a compact car.
    Bottom line- either the state has it or the bank has it. Someone is lying. My state is always trying to give back unclaimed money so methinks its the bank.

  13. Joedel263 says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.:

    that didn’t take long.. god forbid someone at the bank perform the same search.. then this poor woman might have her money..

  14. realwx says:

    Unless it’s a typo, I’d give her $19.

  15. I can’t really blame the state or chase for this though.

    @fesslove: Why not? Like you just said, if the state has it there should be a record of it. So either the state has the unclaimed money but doesn’t have a record of it or Chase never turned over the money even though they’re claiming they did.

  16. @milty45654: I think Falconfire’s earlier comment explains that part. (From what socalrob said I guess she’s lucky the physical check was even still in the safe deposit box.)

  17. She claims to have learned a different lesson: “I didn’t even cook dinner last night,” she said recently. “I should have just buried that money in the backyard.”

    Yeah, but if she’d done that the money would probably still be there.

  18. Hoss says:

    This database has 79 instances of abandoned property under “Willie Floyd”. [www.missingmoney.com]

    Surely the lawyer checked each one of these?

  19. polyeaster says:

    Why did she wait so long to cash it?

  20. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    While I feel bad for her, I do have to agree that the bank did nothing wrong here. Who keeps a check for that long? At the very least, cash it and put the cash somewhere.

    Strange stuff.

  21. Jon Mason says:

    The irony is that (I guess) she didnt trust a bank enough to deposit the check into an account, but she let them keep it in their safety deposit box for 10 years?

    @RECTILINEAR PROPAGATION: I think thats what she is getting it: if she had buried the money she would still have it.

  22. nequam says:

    @socalrob: This woman’s situation is different. She was not deemed to have abondoned what was in her safe deposit box but, rather, she’s holding a check that expired. The safe deposit box has nothing to do with the story excpet to explain how she has a check that went unchased for 22 years. If the husband drew the cashier’s check from Chase, he must have had an account there. It was that account that would have been considered abandoned. So there are really two issues here: (1) a check that expired and; (2) an account with Chase that was untouched for at least 22 years.

  23. nequam says:

    @nequam: I need a spell checker

  24. Gopher bond says:

    Hmm, in 1985, banks were still interested in building up investor confidence so the interest rate on CD’s were probably pretty decent. If she took out a 10 year CD then, and rolled it over to another 10 year, or two 5 years, she’d have over $50,000.00 today.

    Instead, bubka.

  25. FessLove says:

    @rectilnear propagation: I meant to say I cant blame either one without more information. There should be documentation showing where the money went. If the state cant provide information on the unclaimed property, and Chase cant provide proof they handed it over, then it on the shoulders of Chase. If either party can provide good evidence the funds were handed over, its the government. the problem is, something like this will be hard to find due to the size of the company and the fact that this is a 10 year old check. This lady IS getting the shaft, the question is, by who?

  26. rwyuan says:

    Unclaimed checks are considered “abandoned property” and companies are required to “escheat” abandoned property to the state. State laws vary but in New York requires abandoned property to be turned over after three years. The assumption is that companies may fold or close but government is forever!

    Besides the law, what companies do this is to clear their books. A company writes a check, at the end of the month, its bank sends a statement. Some checks are unclaimed, the company’s books don’t balance. The unclaimed amount gets carried over into the following month. Do this for thousands of checks over months and years and what the company’s books say and what its bank accounts says become very, very different. So after a number of years, the company will escheat abandoned property to the state (or states) and “clear” the books of those checks because money has actually left its bank account (albeit to the state). The company’s books and its bank statement should then, in principle, balance.

    I highly doubt that the bank “took” her money as doing so would have also unbalance its books.

    The problem is tracing a 22 year old check that was likely turned over to a state over 15 years ago. It’s a problem with records ~ either the bank or the state.

  27. goodywitch says:

    @polyeaster: my guess is because a check takes up less room than the money itself, since rental of a safety deposit box depends on size…and it’s already been commented on why she didn’t cash and stick it in the bank

    I thought states had records of unclaimed property? And shouldn’t the bank have a record also? In a culture of CYA, both sides should have records, or am I missing something?

  28. punkrawka says:

    All the Consumerist needs today is a story about a 97-year-old suing Reynolds Wrap because their tinfoil didn’t successfully block government mind-reading rays. Then we’ll have the complete trifecta of pandering to old people against big corporations even when they did the stupid or illegal thing. And half of the commenters here will probably be on that old person’s side too.

  29. dh86sj says:

    This isn’t really Chase’s fault. They were just complying with the state’s escheat laws. If anyone is ‘unjustly enriched,’ it would be the state. The purpose of the escheat laws is to ensure that property isn’t left ownerless and therefore transfers it to the state. At this point Chase would no longer have any responsibility for the property as it is now in the possession of the state. This lady’s lawyer is barking up the wrong tree.

  30. Hanke says:

    @Saboth: Hit the nail on the head there; my brother works for NYC Sanitation, and he indicates that the lack of bank accounts is the reason why his department doesn’t offer direct deposit, because the workers are ‘all’ apparently avoiding court orders of some time.

  31. 13743an says:

    Seriously, banks are writing off billions of dollars in sub-prime debt, what’s another 20K to a little old lady other than bad PR?

  32. Hanke says:

    @nequam:
    Was that bank a Chase when he drew the check? That can explain the lack of a proper record.

  33. Eric says:

    I have been involved in this type of situation on the bank side. Where I worked, we would have worked with the customer to recover the funds from the state. However, we would not have claimed it was turned over and there have been no records.

  34. Index4life says:

    @testsicles:

    Screw the CDs. Had she dumped the money in the Dow (all blue chips, by definition) and forgotten about it that $19,700 would be worth ~$220,000 today. It pains me to even think about that.

  35. coan_net says:

    I don’t see how Chase is to blame here.

    Laws are setup that unclaimed money be turned over to the state. A check that goes uncashed is considered lost/abandanded, and the bank does not profit from this (other then probable intrest gained while waiting for the check to go uncashed), but at that point the money and/or property is turned over to the state.

    I’m not sure how it works in other states – but here in Illinois, in the past few years has been working hard in trying to find who owns the unclaimed stuff – [www.cashdash.net]

    I see my great-grandmother has something worth under $100 unclaimed… but I have not done anything yet to claim it.

    Anyway, it is a shame – but I don’t see how Chase is to blame – they need to go after the state in trying to get the claim of the money.

  36. forgottenpassword says:

    Doesnt her state have an “unclaimed property” database? You know…. for money that is owed to a person (even a dead person) & is kept on file in case the person comes forward to claim it.

    In my state…. you can even claim unclaimed/mislaid funds for a deceased relative.

  37. Gopher bond says:

    @Index4life: Yeah, I was trying to think of the least thing you could do, if you knew nothing about money and told the bank that you didn’t need it for a while.

  38. Smoking Pope says:

    Whether or not Chase is to blame, they’re complete morons for not turning a bad situation into one that benefits. Cue commercial:

    “I left a cashier’s check in a safe deposit box at Chase for so long that the government took the money. Chase let me cash the check anyway, and now I have my retirement money. I feel safe using Chase bank, and I’ll always use them.”

    How much does Chase spend on advertising each year? Millions. Who traditionally has the biggest savings accounts? Seniors. How many seniors responding to this ad would it take to recoup the $19,000? Not many.

    It’s mind blowing how many corporations miss the opportunities that turn into bad PR.

  39. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Word.
    @Saboth: Word.

    @Hanke: This isn’t the case with this lady, so why even bring it up?

  40. Major-General says:

    @fesslove: Hell, Chase won’t process a US drawn check if the teller’s have never heard of the bank.

  41. warf0x0r says:

    @Saboth: Yeah, that is pretty racist.

    But to that extent I’m willing to bet that if the picture was of a old white lady more people would reply with sympathy than, “but if…”.

  42. evslin says:

    If depression-era folks are so distrusting of banks, then why did this lady have a cashier’s check in a safe deposit box at a bank? Why wasn’t the money in coffee cans buried in her back yard or something instead? Somehow I don’t think that’s it, I think she just assumed the cashier’s check didn’t have an expiration date on it.

    Now that it’s in the news the state will miraculously “recover” the funds and she will be taken care of.

  43. ladycrumpet says:

    These stories are so painful. I hope this can be resolved for her.

    And now I’m going to go check my online banking for the umpteenth time to see what little I have after bills….

  44. Sonnymooks says:

    From personal experience (don’t ask). The state got the money, they just don’t have or screwed up the records.

    She isn’t going to get anything, if she does, it will be from the government.

    Her lawsuit against chase will be dismissed, I really really do feel bad for her.

    Unless Chase decides to be charitable and for all points and purposes, donate this kind of money to her, she won’t be getting anything, and thats a shame.

  45. Keter says:

    It’s not just people who grew up in the Depression who have an “inherent distrust of banks.” I’ve had one since the 70s, when, on a tip from my grandfather, I withdrew my college savings from a savings and loan literally a day before it folded. Since then, I have been a credit union member.

    Once I opened an account with a small bank near my home to save gas when the credit union branch I had been using lost its lease, and almost immediately regretted it when the bank held a deposit – my paycheck, right before Christmas – for two weeks and ruined the holidays (I had to use my Christmas savings to pay bills instead of buy gifts and foods). I closed the account, and they “waived” the fees for closing the account. (There were FEES for closing the account after they screwed up!!!)

    Three years later, the bank sold to another bank, and those “waived” fees suddenly showed up as an unpaid debt against me! I had one heck of an interesting conversation with the Texas Attorney General’s office, and the buying bank backed down. And another three years later, the same thing happened again! No, banks are evil, and any sane person should distrust them to the point of never having anything to do with them. Ever.

  46. Smoking Pope says:

    @Keter: I don’t know that banks are inherently evil, but much like the insurance industry they’ve tumbled to the fact that mistakes that benefit them will generate money for them because a certain percentage of people will not bother fighting for what is rightfully theirs.

    I’ve long been an advocate of an independent agency (no lobbying, no political party affiliation) that reviews “mistakes” made by insurance companies. If an insurance company makes a mistake and then fails to correct it after being asked, the company must pay the affected party 10 times the amount in question. In other words, make it extremely expensive for mistakes to not get corrected. Maybe if you applied the same rule to banks, we’d see a lot less of these kind of screw-ups.

  47. UpsetPanda says:

    @Keter: Credit unions are more secure, but any insitution where money is involved can pose problems. I’ve had some great banks, and some lousy ones. In college, I worked for the university and if I wanted my paychecks direct deposited, I couldn’t specify my bank account. They only dealt with one local bank, and I would’ve had to get an account there. Looking at how they handle business, I wouldn’t have ever wanted my money going there.

  48. KJones says:

    I can NOT believe some of the responses here.

    “Too bad, but it’s the law”? Forty years ago, it was the law for Mrs. Floyd to sit at the back of the bus. I guess that makes Chase bank’s actions alright then, does it?

    Here’s a better question: Why don’t banks tell their customers that cheques expire or what the law is? Answer: Because they couldn’t get away with confiscating depositors’ money and calling it their own.

    Whatever happened to common decency? Forget “the law”: This woman is retired and living off the money. What sort of company is willing to say, “Screw you, starve to death”, and what sort of people are willing to stand by while they do it? Chase bank should be shamed publicly and held upside down by their collective ankles until her $20,000 is collected.

  49. SacraBos says:

    @evslin: The problem with failing banks was you couldn’t get cash you deposited back out. Security boxes and contents were still yours and accessible. The problem was when your cash got intermixed with everyone elses, and the bank had it all loaned out and not in the vault.

  50. formatc says:

    @Saboth: I know a couple who does the same thing, and neither of them are African American. They cash their paycheck and only deposit into a credit union if they need to electronically transfer the funds to pay bills. They have very little savings and carry all that cash with them. They have no debt, though, which makes their financial practices rather respectable.

  51. @masonreloaded: I know, that comment was for Consumerist not the lady in the story.

  52. @fesslove: Ah, OK.

  53. gingerCE says:

    Okay, I feel bad for this lady because the money is hers, but whether Chase or the state has the money seems undetermined to me. Most likely though, the state has her money and probably doesn’t want to give it back.

    But if there is any lesson from this story, it’s to help older family members manage their money.

  54. theblackdog says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she had this check because she grew up in the depression and had a mistrust of keeping the money in a bank account. It’s a big reason why my grandmother would put any extra money she had into savings bonds rather than the bank, at least those won’t vanish, unless you lose the bond, and even then, they can be traced.

  55. forgottenpassword says:

    @sacrabos:

    A lot of banks wont let you keep cash/coins in a safe deposit box. And when it comes time to open it & inspect the contents of an overdue account…. there is usually a government rep present to note any amount of cash that may be in there & determine if it is a “fishy” enough amount to investigate if it is ill-gotten gains. Safe deposit boxes arent the end-all-beat-all they are supossedly cracked up to be. I’d keep only personal documents in a safe deposit box… not anything valuable.

  56. JMH says:

    @DeeJayQueue:
    @Falconfire:
    @pinkpuppet:
    Before he passed away a few years ago, my grandfather always used to have cash stashed various places around his house. He got over his distrust of banks well enough that he eventually invested some money (my father/his son-in-law is a financial consultant, which must’ve mitigated the distrust), but even so when you opened a drawer or a cabinet you sometimes found an envelope of money.

  57. Bryan Price says:

    @fesslove: Yeah, having worked with the Division of Unclaimed Funds for Ohio, the check was indeed considered abandoned.

    The big however is, what happened to that money? Surely the bank has a record of sending that money to their state’s version of Unclaimed Funds, and surely Mrs. Floyd can show that she has legitimate claim to the money because she holds the original document, which should mean a wait of no more than four weeks to get her money back. That was the time given to applicants to get their money (although it only took one week for my measly 50 bucks that I found I was owed).

    So they should be able to very quickly point her to what she needs to do to claim it. Unless they didn’t file with the state and hand the funds over. There have been some definite shenanigans that various financial institutions have used to try and keep that kind of money (and keeping the rightful owners from collecting!)

  58. savvy999 says:

    At lunch I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things, the line of people waiting at the customer service desk to cash their checks +/or pay bills in cash +/or use the Western Union service was about 30 people long.

    My point is, a LOT of people are bank-o-phobic; old, young, white, black, brown, whoever that is kinda just getting by.

  59. Bryan Price says:

    @forgottenpassword: “A lot of banks wont let you keep cash/coins in a safe deposit box. And when it comes time to open it & inspect the contents of an overdue account….”

    Having never owned a safe deposit box, I believe you may put anything you want into them. There is nobody there that is supposed to be seeing what you put in and take out of a safe deposit box. That’s part of what you are getting.

    And the only time I’m aware of that they open up a deposit box is — tada — after five years of non-payment of rent, it’s considered abandoned and the state collects the contents for their unclaimed funds division.

    It used to be that (in Ohio at least) they would keep the valuable items intact, but that has changed over the years, and they now sell the items (coins, jewelry, stock certificates) for money pretty much immediately. You also used to get interest, but they’ve stopped paying that last time I looked.

  60. synergy says:

    Besides not trusting a bank to keep her money, she was PAYING to keep money in a box. Wouldn’t it have been just as safe in a box in her possesssion or on her property if she has property?

    I keep my money at the bank only because none of it is mine anyway, so why bother going to the trouble of handling it when I won’t get to keep it? It makes it easier to make the bank send out checks I don’t have to buy for all my bills.

  61. Gopher bond says:

    @synergy: article says they were worried about a fire at their home, more likely to happen than at a bank.

  62. forgottenpassword says:

    @Bryan Price:

    Correct, but most banks have policies as to what is allowed in a safe deposit box. Sure… you could keep anthrax or dynomite in one if you so wanted as they dont know what you’ve put in there.

  63. forgottenpassword says:

    FOrgot to mention that when they open one up…. they at least attempt to find the rightfull owner of the property, but if you have $500,000 in cash in there…. the IRS is going to want to know of it is legitimately earned/taxed. I THINK the no cash rule about safe deposit boxes is because some people use them to hide money they earned illegally. My local bank says that you cant keep valuable coins in one either… i have no idea why though.

    Note: IF you have a safe deposit box… ALWAYS ALWAYS have info in it as to whom the stuff belongs to & next of kin info etc. etc….. unless you are a drug dealer keeping gobs of illegally earned cash in it…. hate to bring the wrath of the IRS down upon your innocent relatives.

  64. pureobscure says:

    I worry about the validity of checks that I’ve been carrying around in my wallet for a few months. Why would anyone think that a 22 year old check would still be valid? It’s also pretty much common sense that 19k will earn interest, and there are other options for cash than a bank if she doesn’t trust them; gold, stock broker, life insurance company, even a local credit union is an alternative.

    It’s a sad story, but I can’t say that I’m particularly sympathetic.

  65. aaronrosen26 says:

    I worked for Chase and a number of its predecessor institutions for about 5 years (no longer). I can tell you the following: cashier’s checks are generally not drawn off of bank-owned account. When a check is made, the money is sent to a third party who then guarantees payment on the item. The third party will keep records on unpaid checks for some time. However, if a check is unpaid in the time it takes for things to be eschated according to the laws of the state in which the check was issued, it will be handed over to that state’s treasury department.

    In any case, the money left Chase, or whatever prior bank it was, when the cashier’s check was drawn all those years ago. Asking Chase to be accountable for a cashier’s check they produced in good faith more than 20 years ago is beyond ridiculous. The attorney who agreed to take on this case would have done much better to help this woman trace the funds through each step than this idiotic public crusade. Banks generally keep records for about seven years, but the companies that the banks hire to process their cashier’s checks may have more. I feel bad for this person, but as many here have pointed out, her deceased husband really screwed her over on this one, on more than one account.

  66. barty says:

    The real question is, what the hell did the state do with the money? If its turned over to the state as unclaimed property, then they’re on the hook for it. Instead of suing Chase, which will probably go nowhere and just foster some ill-will, she should be getting their legal department to hunt down the unclaimed property transaction and submit that info to the state so she can get her money. Bam! Problem solved. Its probably an issue of the state hasn’t transferred those older records from whatever medium they were using at the time to the new(er) database and the clerk at the unclaimed property office probably just gave up when it didn’t come up on her computer. So instead of getting someone further up the food chain involved she goes and gets lawyered up.

    I’m sure is what happened is this lawyer caught wind of the story somehow and saw a chance to score a bunch of $$$ from a settlement, probably claiming mental distress or some BS like that. I can understand a person of that age not wanting to have to deal with all the extra legwork and hiring a lawyer (hell, a paralegal could take care of this) or enlisting the help of a relative to get the information everyone needs. But this lawsuit idiocy has just got to stop.

  67. TechnoDestructo says:

    @punkrawka:
    Well, according to her lawyer, at least, the money didn’t go to the state. So that would mean Chase would be (completely in keeping with their policies of late) lying to her. So yeah, I’m on her side.

  68. Tonguetied says:

    I feel for the lady but I understand the bank’s actions. It was a Cashier’s check. They wouldn’t necessarily have had contact information on her with it as they would have a regular check.

  69. MrEvil says:

    Moral of the story, get cash and put it in a private vault.

    I have a box at a private vault that I keep all kinds of valuables and documents in. As long as the bill is paid the vault is happy. When I die, the only people that have access to the box is people I have designated on the entry card. If I had a box at a bank and died, the “man” would want to have a looksee in it first.

  70. D-Bo says:

    @DeeJayQueue: hit the nail on the head

  71. chazz says:

    How can it be “unjust enrichment” if the bank gave it to the state. I’m not saying it’s right, but the bank didn’t make any profit beyond the fee for issuing a cashier’s check.

  72. swalve says:

    @Falconfire: If she’s 82, she wasn’t born before 1920.

    @Keter: S&L’s weren’t banks. Neither are credit unions.

    @CaffeinatedSquint: Credit unions are NOT more secure.

  73. ouchiefingers says:

    I’m sorry I work for one of the nations largest banks. The attorney for Chase is exactly correct. Each state has their own unclaimed property laws. Why not put money in a bank account? Even though a bank account is subject to unclaimed property laws the bank can and will notify you if your accounts become dormant or escheated (turned over to the state). This kind of ignorance is what I see on a daily basis. If she lived 22 years without that money than obviously she didn’t need it that bad. I’m sure she’ll complain about her attorney’s hidden fees when her case is over. Maybe she should burry it in the back yard. Then she can sue nature when a natural disaster destroys her home and her money is lost. Ignorance is bliss.

  74. ShadowFalls says:

    @Saboth:

    Think that matters? Their wages can just be garnished, their money will be taken before they even see their check.

    In the end, this is a pretty messed up thing. The interesting question is whether they actually informed the person of this taking place or it saying it on the check. The state can’t seem to find a record of them getting that money, is the bank trying to keep it all? Is this the only case of Chase not sending money to the state?

  75. mrrbob says:

    As momma always says… stupid is as stupid does.

    Stupid people are everywhere. They get taken all the time.

    We can all feel sorry for this lady but she is an idiot.

    I still think chase should honor the check though. WTF is 19k to them. It will cost them a lot more in bad publicity.

  76. jjason82 says:

    I feel sorry for the lady, as obviously she’s very elderly and has lost everything, but as much as I hate to say it, it’s her own fault. The five year period isn’t some new rule. From what I understand of the article it was in place when she first got the check. Common sense would tell you to do something better with $20k than let it sit in a safe deposit box as a cashier’s check.

    What I don’t understand is this. I think it’s safe to assume that she doesn’t trust the bank if she doesn’t put her money there. Then why did she put it in a safe deposit box IN A BANK? She was using the bank either way. What difference did it make, besides allowing her to collect interest on $20k if she had done the responsible thing?

  77. stopNgoBeau says:

    @Hanke: No, the bank was not Chase back in 1985. In fact, five years ago (or less) it was Bank One, and before that, Premier One, and before that Capital City Bank, and before that I was too young to care what banks were.

  78. drdom says:

    Without speaking out of school here, I know a little bit more detail about this story than the newspaper accounts reveal. The problem lies with the Wisconsin State Treasurers’ office, not Chase.

    Chase(or actually Bank One) did what the law requires them to do. People get their stuff in a bundle when the law isn’t followed in some circumstances. This should be no different. In fact, the predecessor of Chase, in this case, Bank One, actually turned over the funds to the state, as required by law. And this happened long before Chase was even in the picture.

    These banks get audited all the time, and cannot get away with not following these rules. So no matter how badly you might feel for the lady in this story, and she has a legitimate complaint, it’s with the State of Wisconsin.

    Having a family member who works in retail banking for Chase and their predecessors, I know that prior to turning anything over to the State, Chase, their predecessor Bank One, and before that Marine Bank here in Wisconsin always makes a very thorough effort to locate folks before turning over funds to the state just to try to avoid this type of thing. And their compliance is compelled by law and monitored via the audits they go through. So why should Chase shareholders pay for the incompetence of the Wisconsin State Treasurers Office, or this poor lady’s mistrust of banks?

    Let’s place the blame where it belongs, no matter how badly we feel for this lady. And shame on her attorney. She, better than anyone should know, or could find out with 10 minutes worth of research, that their cause of action lies with the State and not the bank.

  79. isilia says:

    Update: [www.wisn.com]