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)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.