Bank loses track of boy's college fund

March 7, 2012 8:37:34 PM PST
One way to handle college expenses is to set up special bank account that earns tax free interest. It can help, if it works. But one family had the opposite result.

The funds are supposed to earn interest but in this case, a boy's college fund literally disappeared. Their story is a warning to all -- make sure you keep tabs on your accounts.

James Dichesare wanted to make sure his son Damien could go to college someday

"In 2006 my mom passed and I got an inheritance from her," Dichesare said.

James took his inheritance to Wells Fargo bank and put $25,750 into a college fund that could earn tax free interest.

"She told me if they invest it aggressively it could earn up to $10,000 in five years," Dichesare said.

It sounded great. However, years later when Damien was ready for college, his dad got a pretty big shock. The college fund was gone.

"[They said] 'we don't have records of it at this account. Are you sure you opened it at this bank?'" Dichesare said.

Dichesare had lost the account paperwork over the years so he went into the bank to check on the money. Wells Fargo said the account simply did not exist. $25,000 was lost.

"It felt like, you got to be kidding me. It felt like I gave some of my money to someone that I trusted that's supposed to be taking care of this and they're just telling me they don't' have it," Dichesare said.

Dichesare tried for more than a year to find his money. The bank did a search of his Social Security number, which turned up nothing.

"I was just getting so frustrated; so, so upset and now my son is going, 'Well, what's up dad? What are we going to do?'" Dichesare said.

Dichesare called 7 On Your Side. We told Dichesare to search every scrap in his files for any document linked to that account. And then, it happened.

"I found that copy of the receipt," Dichesare said.

Dichesare found his copy of the cashier's check he'd deposited that day. $25,750 to Wells Fargo Investments. They traced the check number and found the money in a dead check account.

"They said I put a stop payment on it," Dichesare said.

Dichesare said he never stopped payment and the money should have been in a fund earning interest. We asked Wells Fargo how this happened. The bank said it could not discuss the case, saying only, "We have been in contact with Mr. Dichesare and we believe we've reached a fair resolution."

The bank refunded Dichesare's $25,750-- just not with any interest.

"I'm glad I got that back anyway; you guys were great," Dichesare said.

Dichesare tells us Wells Fargo did pay $1,800 interest for the six years the money was in the dead account. Not as much as it might have earned if it had been invested, but he's very glad just to get his money back.


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