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A question about an unexpected deposit

Superfly

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OK. My son has a friend who woke up this morning to $20,000 in his bank account. Last night he only had $50. He called the bank to find out where the money came from, and they told him it was from the VA. He is not a Vet, nor is his girlfriend. The closest anyone in the military is to these guys is the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. The bank can't do anything, because the money was sent to the proper routing number, proper account number. He then calls the VA and can't get anyone from the VA - only automated numbers. I know that eventually he will find someone who will talk to him, but the automated number keeps verifying his routing number and account number as correct.

Now, we know that the money does not belong to this guy, but if he tries to give the money back and no one realizes the error, what should he do? Hopefully, eventually he'll get a human on the phone and they can get everything straightened out. What he doesn't realize is that this is felony fraud, and he will serve time in prison if he spends this money, knowing it's not his. Any ideas? What's the statute of limitations on something like this? If he keeps it in his account for a year and no one comes back for it, is it his?
 

Gipper

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OK. My son has a friend who woke up this morning to $20,000 in his bank account. Last night he only had $50. He called the bank to find out where the money came from, and they told him it was from the VA. He is not a Vet, nor is his girlfriend. The closest anyone in the military is to these guys is the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. The bank can't do anything, because the money was sent to the proper routing number, proper account number. He then calls the VA and can't get anyone from the VA - only automated numbers. I know that eventually he will find someone who will talk to him, but the automated number keeps verifying his routing number and account number as correct.

Now, we know that the money does not belong to this guy, but if he tries to give the money back and no one realizes the error, what should he do? Hopefully, eventually he'll get a human on the phone and they can get everything straightened out. What he doesn't realize is that this is felony fraud, and he will serve time in prison if he spends this money, knowing it's not his. Any ideas? What's the statute of limitations on something like this? If he keeps it in his account for a year and no one comes back for it, is it his?

I'd immediately withdraw it and put it in another account at another bank.
 

Superfly

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I'd immediately withdraw it and put it in another account at another bank.

But Gip - it's felony fraud, and you can't open another account without using your SSN. They will find you, very easily, and take the money, and then you'd get in trouble for trying to hide it.
 

Helix

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keep calling; don't spend it. it's just going to be a mess if he does.

in the meantime, you might call the local media and let them know what an honest person he is. the media eats up stories like that.
 

Gipper

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But Gip - it's felony fraud, and you can't open another account without using your SSN. They will find you, very easily, and take the money, and then you'd get in trouble for trying to hide it.

No, it's not fraud unless you received the money under false pretenses due to actions on your (the receiver) part. If it wasn't a loan or a contractual agreement of some sort, it's his. He is under no obligation to return the money.

If the money was received through deceit, it's fraud. If it was received by accident, it's a gift.
 

specklebang

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He should not touch the money and he should write real, actual letters to the bank and the VA and if no reply, at least one more followup lettrer. Send them with tracking so he has proof of his purpose.

After a year, he will be safe to withdraw the money as abandoned. The letters will preclude prosecution. Having a talk with his banker, noting the date and time of the talk should also be done. He must show good faith - he might yet get that money but it's CRITICAL to prove you tried to return it.



OK. My son has a friend who woke up this morning to $20,000 in his bank account. Last night he only had $50. He called the bank to find out where the money came from, and they told him it was from the VA. He is not a Vet, nor is his girlfriend. The closest anyone in the military is to these guys is the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. The bank can't do anything, because the money was sent to the proper routing number, proper account number. He then calls the VA and can't get anyone from the VA - only automated numbers. I know that eventually he will find someone who will talk to him, but the automated number keeps verifying his routing number and account number as correct.

Now, we know that the money does not belong to this guy, but if he tries to give the money back and no one realizes the error, what should he do? Hopefully, eventually he'll get a human on the phone and they can get everything straightened out. What he doesn't realize is that this is felony fraud, and he will serve time in prison if he spends this money, knowing it's not his. Any ideas? What's the statute of limitations on something like this? If he keeps it in his account for a year and no one comes back for it, is it his?
 

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OK. My son has a friend who woke up this morning to $20,000 in his bank account. Last night he only had $50. He called the bank to find out where the money came from, and they told him it was from the VA. He is not a Vet, nor is his girlfriend. The closest anyone in the military is to these guys is the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. The bank can't do anything, because the money was sent to the proper routing number, proper account number. He then calls the VA and can't get anyone from the VA - only automated numbers. I know that eventually he will find someone who will talk to him, but the automated number keeps verifying his routing number and account number as correct.

Now, we know that the money does not belong to this guy, but if he tries to give the money back and no one realizes the error, what should he do? Hopefully, eventually he'll get a human on the phone and they can get everything straightened out. What he doesn't realize is that this is felony fraud, and he will serve time in prison if he spends this money, knowing it's not his. Any ideas? What's the statute of limitations on something like this? If he keeps it in his account for a year and no one comes back for it, is it his?

I would HIGHLY recommend that he go down to the bank and notify someone in person of what is going on. He should get something in writing that he notified the bank. Once he does that he should open another account at another bank, kiss his $50 goodbye and switch any direct deposits or withdrawals to that new bank. If he doesn't then he's got a 50-50 shot at being accused (and possibly arrested) for bank fraud, theft, etc. He'd probably get off from everything but to do so is likely to cost him thousands of dollars and put a permanent mark on his record.
 

specklebang

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I'd immediately withdraw it and put it in another account at another bank.

Respectfully, a very bad suggestion. He can't move that money or he may end up in real trouble. Do it right - and he might get to keep it.
 

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[Edit] Actually what I'd do is immediately invest it in a manner that creates a sure return. For instance, buy 20K worth of CDs or bonds/bills of some sort. If it's determined that the money has to be returned, tell them it's theirs, but they have to assume any and all costs involved. In the meanwhile, any sort of interest, coupon, or dividend from the money can be kept by you.
 

Gipper

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Respectfully, a very bad suggestion. He can't move that money or he may end up in real trouble. Do it right - and he might get to keep it.

If the account has his name on it and the money was deposited legally, he absolutely can move that money.
 

Lutherf

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I'd immediately withdraw it and put it in another account at another bank.

HELL NO!!!

If he does that he's toast. Not only should he not touch the $20k but he shouldn't touch anything else in that account including automatic withdrawals and outstanding checks. If he's got any outstanding checks he needs to put a stop payment on them immediately even if they would have been covered without the $20k.
 

specklebang

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Well, Luther and I feel differently. Money you "find" doesn't become yours despite what you heard in first grade about finders keepers losers weepers or possession being 9 points of the law.



If the account has his name on it and the money was deposited legally, he absolutely can move that money.
 

Gipper

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HELL NO!!!

If he does that he's toast. Not only should he not touch the $20k but he shouldn't touch anything else in that account including automatic withdrawals and outstanding checks. If he's got any outstanding checks he needs to put a stop payment on them immediately even if they would have been covered without the $20k.

Okay, not take out "immediately". I'd do my "due diligence", but after a few token gestures, that money is getting out of that bank as fast as my little fingers can type it out of there.
 

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He needs to be very careful. If he does *anything* with that money, it could used as evidence of intent to defraud, etc...

My best advice would be to talk to a lawyer, people at the state banking dept, the VA, etc
 

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Sue the VA for messing with his account and charge them for his time in fixing the matter. When they finally notice the error they will not only expect the money itself back, but the interest.
 

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The burden of fraud is not upon him. A case has to be made against him that he knowingly and willfully committed felony mischief.

If he truly does not know where the money came from and did nothing to initiate the money sent, he's clean as a whistle.

Chances are that even if a major institution sent him this money accidentally but through no deception on his part, they wouldn't pursue it, as it'd cost them more in court fees and representation than it would to just let it go.

People are worried for no reason.
 

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Cops: Man spent nearly $70,000 mistakenly deposited in his bank account - phillyburbs.com: Courier Times

~ snip ~
One day, Joseph Bucci had about $35 in the bank. A week later, he had nearly $70,000.

He didn’t hit the lottery. He didn’t buy low and sell high. He didn’t make a killing at the casino.

The 22-year-old Bensalem man didn’t do anything to get the money, which was mistakenly deposited into his bank account in March, Bensalem police said.

But Bucci did spend his new found fortune, all but $2,000 of it, police say. Now the alleged bank-error bandit is facing felony charges and the possibility of a seven- to 14-year jail sentence.

Bucci, who listed his address as West End Avenue in Trevose, surrendered to Bensalem police Tuesday and was charged with receiving stolen property and theft of property lost by mistake, both third-degree felonies

I wouldn't take the chance. After probably 30 days, and CMRRR mail from both the VA and his bank, I'd pull it and put it in an interest-bearing savings account, something like INGdirect. That way, if they come after it, he can pull it and give it to them.
 

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I wouldn't take the chance. After probably 30 days, and CMRRR mail from both the VA and his bank, I'd pull it and put it in an interest-bearing savings account, something like INGdirect. That way, if they come after it, he can pull it and give it to them.

I wouldn't do anything with the money unless it was done on the advice of counsel.
 

Gipper

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He may have been charged, but I'd be completely shocked if he was found guilty of it. A complete lack of mens rea would result in a bench ruling that sets him free.
 

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Overall, I suspect this is a fabrication. I've dealt with the USG resolving my Father's estate and they seemed to know exactly what he owed them and they owed him. The odds that an even amount of $20K was just dumped into a random, unconnected account are pretty low.

People say the darndest things.....
 

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OK. My son has a friend who woke up this morning to $20,000 in his bank account. Last night he only had $50. He called the bank to find out where the money came from, and they told him it was from the VA. He is not a Vet, nor is his girlfriend. The closest anyone in the military is to these guys is the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. The bank can't do anything, because the money was sent to the proper routing number, proper account number. He then calls the VA and can't get anyone from the VA - only automated numbers. I know that eventually he will find someone who will talk to him, but the automated number keeps verifying his routing number and account number as correct.

Now, we know that the money does not belong to this guy, but if he tries to give the money back and no one realizes the error, what should he do? Hopefully, eventually he'll get a human on the phone and they can get everything straightened out. What he doesn't realize is that this is felony fraud, and he will serve time in prison if he spends this money, knowing it's not his. Any ideas? What's the statute of limitations on something like this? If he keeps it in his account for a year and no one comes back for it, is it his?

Have him call his Congressman or Senator's office. If he touches the money, he is toast even if he just "borrows it for a day and puts it back in" as some people rationalize it. The bank should have been able to send it back and should be able to give him the wire transfer info at the very least. They just don't want the headache. He hasn't done anything wrong yet, but he needs to not touch a penny of that money.
 
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