In 1984, an Arizona man invested more than $18,000 in a Certificate of Deposit at First Interstate Bank, and then placed that CD away in his family’s personal records where it sat for 25 years. Then in 2009, after he passed away, his widow discovered the CD and attempted to cash it out, only to be denied by First Interstate’s new owner, Wells Fargo.
The widow tells KPHO-TV in Phoenix that she and her late husband frequently placed their money in CDs when they owned a towing company.
“Going back in the ’80s, that was the way you made your money,” she explains.
But when she tried to get the money that she believes is rightfully hers, she the bank “practically almost laughed at me.”
KPHO claims that Wells Fargo refused to comment on the story but claim in court documents that it had no records of the CD and believes it’s possible that it could have already been paid out at some point in the past, pointing out that First Interstate had a policy of allowing customers to retain paid-out certificates.
The widow insists that her late husband never cashed out the CD, while her lawyer notes that the CD states that it must be “presented and surrendered” in order to be redeemed. He claims that it’s not enough for Wells to cite a lack of documentation on its part as evidence that the CD had been paid.
“Given the passage of the time, the bank doesn’t have a record of it,” says the lawyer. “And so really what needs to be decided by the court is, what’s the import of the lack of a record in the face of the instrument?”
The two sides also can’t agree on just how much the CD would be worth if Wells Fargo did have to pay the widow.
Her lawyer believes it’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars while the bank estimates its value at closer to $60,000.
KPHO reports that the court is expected to decide on this dispute in January.