Bank of America refuses to cash $900 cashier's check from 1988

...but eventually it does get cashed. Here's how you can check if you have unclaimed property

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip via KGO logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022
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The cashier's check was originally made out to the San Francisco woman more than 34 years ago.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Looking for a little extra cash? You may have it stuffed in a sock somewhere and not even know it. That's what one San Francisco woman found out. Yet even after discovering the money, she couldn't get her hands on it.

Patsy Turner has been a longtime Bank of America customer.

Some two decades ago, she received a call from the bank that her branch would be closing. They told her she would have to retrieve her possessions out of her safe deposit box.

"I told him I don't have the key anymore. I lost it. They said, 'Well, we're going to open it and you're going to have to pay us.' They opened it. I paid them and that's the last I heard," Turner recalled.

Fast forward some 20 years later. Turner received another call from B of A... This time telling her to come to the bank on Leland Avenue in San Francisco.

"I went to the bank. There was this safe deposit box and they said, 'Here, take the contents,'" said Turner.

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She had not opened that safe deposit box for ages. Among the items she found: a cashier's check worth $900.

It was originally made out to her in March 1988 -- more than 34 years ago.

She went back to the bank to try to cash it.

The bank refused, saying the check was too old.

"I said, 'You know what, you guys. This is a good cashiers check. It doesn't say void any place, anywhere. You guys need to give me my money,'" Turner said.

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Instead, the bank sent her to Unclaimed Property at the State Controller's Office.

The agency has a vault filled with unclaimed items, including gold coins, rare baseball cards and even savings bonds.

The items turned over to the state are worth billions.

Unfortunately, the controller's office had no record of any money belonging to Turner. It said financial institutions are required to report a cashier's check if still uncashed after three years.

Turner went back to Bank of America.

"Everybody kept telling me, 'No, no, no,' and I kept insisting that this was a good -- this was like money," Turner said.

That's when Turner turned to 7 On Your Side. We reached out to Bank of America.

The bank told us: "This cashier's check dates back 34 years which goes well beyond record retention requirements. We value our customer relationships."

It agreed to cash the check for Turner.

RELATED: California man deposits $33K check in BofA account, never sees it again as branch closes

She used the money to take a cruise to Ensenada.

"You pulled it out and took care of it. I appreciate it because $900 is a lot of money to lose," she said.

You can check with the Unclaimed Property website to find out if you have any money waiting to be claimed.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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