Friday, November 11, 2011

$27,000 Jackpot!

For 41 days I was whopping $27,000 richer than I should have been!

When I balanced my checkbook online in late September, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I saw a gigantic deposit into our joint checking account that day and it had me blinking in disbelief.

In a moment of temporary insanity, I tried to figure out why my husband would deposit that much money into our checking account rather than our savings account... The insane part is that we would have had a check that big to deposit anywhere in the first place, but it was a conversation in my head...

Me: Wow, that's a lota loot!

Insane Me: Cha-Ching!!! Mama needs a new pair of shoes.

Me: Why in the heck would Hubby put that much money in this account?

Insane Me: Hello vacation!

Me: Staring blankly at the computer screen as if to will answers out of it...


Me: Dare I actually ask Husband what's up?

Insane Me: Nope, let's just see what happens.

I did ask and Husband had nothing to do with it. He seemed unfazed by the whole thing and went back to reading the newspaper.

It was Friday evening so I decided to wait until Monday to call the bank and sort things out. Okay, true confession, I could have called the bank immediately but the inflated bank balance looked so pretty in my account.

When I checked my online statement Monday morning, the now AVAILABLE CASH was still there.

I dug deeper into my online statement and clicked on every possible link until I brought up the actual deposit slip for the $27K.

Reality smacked me in the face.

Someone-- whose handwriting looked shaky (translation: old) had completed the entire deposit slip by hand rather than using their pre-printed one with all the contact info and account number included. The writing was not great but it was fairly easy to read their full name, complete address and account number.

From what I could figure out, the bank teller mistook a "4" for a "7" in our account numbers and the deposit was credited to our account by mistake.

When I realized the deposit was the result of human error, not a computer error, I was actually a little ticked off. A hand written deposit slip should have been a red flag for the teller to double check the name, address and account number. If he or she had they would have immediately caught their mistake....

Our last name is simple-- Jenkins. Old Person's name looked something like-- Siatoslavovakisia!

So as I see it-- Old Person/Siatoslavovakisia made a deposit and a teller didn't bother to double check their work and a boat load of money landed in our account my mistake.

Okay, mistakes happen.

But no one called me about it. I called the bank! Which means the poor person who hand wrote their deposit slip was probably bouncing checks all over town while they tore their house apart looking for the original receipt from the careless teller to prove they'd made the deposit in the first place.

Can you imagine having no proof of a $27,000 deposit?!?

Then again-- Maybe that person has so much money they didn't even notice $27,000 was missing....

Ohhh, yes, I've played this story over and over in my head too.

Did I mention I called the bank and talked to a customer service person who sounded very, very far away to straighten things out? He was nice, but definitely not talking to me from anywhere in North America.

I felt so much better after I came clean and advised the unknown customer service person that the twenty-seven thousand bucks didn't belong to me. Being much poorer has it's benefits and a clear conscious is definitely one of them.

I actually slept like a baby that night knowing Mr. Siatoslavovakisia had his money back.

But did he?

Day after day, I checked my account balance to see if the money had been transferred out and every day my very inflated balance greeted me-- as if daring me to write a check.

I held on firmly to my good karma and waited for the bank to transfer the funds....

Until I told my accountant friend about the lost loot and he asked if I'd gotten a paper trail to prove the funds had actually been returned to the rightful owner.


It never dawned on me that the far away customer service person wouldn't do the absolute right thing just like I had and returned the money to the rightful owner. Never once did I think to get his name, ID number or even ask for a supervisor. No, I figured everyone was as honorable as me.

Oh yes, a conspiracy theory was unfolding in my head...

As the clocked ticked-- now a full three weeks since the deposit-- and the money tormented me in our account, I spun a thousand stories on where the money would eventually end up-- A Swiss bank account, an undercover fake account belonging to the customer service guy, or worse, in a bottomless pit of cash at the bank from people like me doing the right thing that never actually gets to the rightful owner.....

I know... I have too much time on my hands.

Exasperated, I printed out a copy of the deposit slip and mailed it to Mr. Siatoslavovakisia. I included a note with my phone number in case he needed further confirmation. (No, I did not give him my bank account number.) Ten days later, all that money was still teasing me and Mr. S. hadn't called.

Now, frankly, I was a little miffed, so I marched down to the bank in person, copy of erroneous deposit slip in hand, and talked to the Branch Manager-- which was more like a 20 year old kid pretending to be a banker. I got her name, rank and serial number and even asked for a second bank employee to witness the transfer of my account number and the name, address and probably account number of Mr. Siatoslavovakisia.

Then the Branch Manager asked me about 4,000 questions to make sure I wasn't some nutcase messing with someone else's checking account.... As if I was the problem!

Finally I left feeling confident all was right in the world and soon my bank account would go back down to it's usual pitiful balance.

But that took ten more days....


I realize this was a minor error in the grand scheme of bank tellers-- And that my major bank has a lot of "occupy" protesters hanging around lately to deal with-- And the people I spoke with dealt with me honorably, but really, FORTY-ONE days to be teased before the powers that be check and recheck that I was legit enough to GIVE BACK $27,000 that didn't actually belong to me.

Or worse, 41 days for Mr. Siatoslavovakisia to get his missing money!

Sheesh. No wonder the banking industry is in such a mess.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © vovan -


  1. Wow! That is one crazy story! You did the right thing. It seems to take the large mega banks quite a long time to sort things out. We had a client who had issues with Wells Fargo Bank. Client's issues were resolved. But WFB corporate dumbasses took FOREVER to acknowledge & put the settlement into effect-- it was a mess but finally the light went on ....the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing!

  2. Wow, that is crazy! I am surprised it took so long.

  3. Nuts it took so long to give back the money! I'm glad you were so worried about it though, shows you are a really, really nice person. But I knew that already! lol

  4. I understand how you feel. I would want that money out of my account yesterday if not sooner. If it isn't mine I do not want it in with mine. This is the longest time I have ever heard of the bank taking to get things corrected. Sheesh. You are an honest person, thank goodness you are.

  5. WOW!!!
    What a wild ride that must have been!
    xoxoxox to you!

  6. First of all huge hugs and cudos for sitting on your bank cards!! But then I would expect no less from you my friend. Second..OMGGGGG you said wonder! I had this happen to me recently..deposited a large check (not that large OMG) and the teller put it in the wrong account..went to check the next day and no money..took out the receipt..and wrong account. High tailed it down to the bank and they fixed it on the spot..go figure. I wonder if it would have taken longer had it been a huge check. Geesh hon!! At least ya still have your bling:)
    Huge hugs, Sarah

  7. I have only ever had them put my money in someone elses account....and it took just about as long to fix. I'm not the best at keeping track so I really want the bank to do it right.

  8. I'd be considering moving my money to a credit union!

  9. wow, what a story, good that you finally got it sorted out. It's scary what goes on in the banks...considering it's MONEY.

  10. You are amazing and so good hearted. To think of all the time you put into returning that $27,000! You should have gotten a reward, at the very least, or a new pair of very high class shoes, for all your efforts.

    once, quite a few years ago, up the hill outside our local Lucky's, I saw a purse in a shopping cart. I opened it up and saw a wallet with five one hundred dollar bills in it, plus a few assorted tweenties and some other change, totaling $583.10. I'd gotten the purse before a gang of teenaged boys got to it.

    The ID of a 75-year-old woman was in it. I went into the Lucky's and asked if anyone had reported a missing purse. They had not but the manager said they would keep the purse. I told them I was taking it to the police. I did find a phone number for a son of the lady, who lived in another county some fifty miles away. I left my number.

    He called shortly and was very accusatory, intimating that I had stolen the purse. That got up my dander and I told him I was en route to the Pacifica police station as we talked. When I got to the police station, the officer was very grateful and said the lady had called there He asked if I would wait till the lady came to claim it. I explained that I was a forensic nurse for San Francisco, only about 20 years younger than this lady and my only concern was getting her purse back to her.

    He thanked me but, honestly, I got no thanks at all from the woman or her son.

  11. Oh my goodness. I read your story from start to finish and what kept sticking in my mind is "he was unfazed". OH MY GOSH... if my husband was told that, well, he'd have to partake of his laundering I should say. That is a wonderful thing you did, honorable as all get out. I would have to do the same as I really believe in Karma coming back.

    I hope they send you a thank you at some point, it's the least they can since you never got your new shoes!!

  12. Thank God for honest people like you are JJ. I can't understand why it took so long for them to rectify the situation. I sure hope that Mr. S got his money back.

  13. so how much in change fees did they charge you for fixing it...sorry gallows bank humor there...ugh....glad you were honest jj...i would expect nothing less though...smiles.

  14. Joanna, I have to applaud you. 41 days is a long time. Did you ever get a note or call from the man....If I had seen it in my account, well I would have fallen down right then and worked at a bank, can not understand the length of time that lapsed. Your a good one my friend. sending a big hug your way.

  15. That's an incredible story! You did the right thing, and I like to think I would have too, but man, giving back that much cash had to at least sting a little bit, huh?

    This is why you should move your money to a credit union. "Bank Transfer Day" is still going on! And just FYI, credit unions never took a dime of government money to be bailed out, because THEY DIDN'T NEED TO BE.

    Yes, I'm pro CU, and I work for an CU association. Because a CU is the best place for your money. End commercial and personal endorsement.

  16. Wow! It's a good thing you are young and full of energy....
    Have a great weekend jj!

  17. Jings, JJ - what an incredible story! And good on you for doing the right thing. The bad thing would have been to send me a cheque...

  18. I am so PROUD of you for hanging in there so long to make sure the right thing was done. That you were not properly thanked is a travesty. So I THANK YOU, Joanna. It's so nice to know there are still people like you in the world.

  19. wow that is unbelievable!! you did the right thing but still such a crazy thing!!

  20. Thank goodness you are an honest person and actually balance your accounts!!! I feel sorry for whomever the real depositor is.

    When I was a bank teller, back in the good old days before menu's and cattle lines to actually get to a teller, I was off one night to the tune of $550. I finally figured out that when I had sold a money order that I had given the person MY end of the deal so without it to run through my batch, I couldn't balance....and I had no idea who I had sold it too. It would go on my record. Luckily the next day, the man brought MY part back and all was once again right with the world!

  21. Years ago I had a $5,000 check deposited into my account, but by the time I got to the bank to check it out, the money had disappeared. Same thing, an incorrect deposit, but I barely had a chance to feel it before it was gone.

    Whoever it is you bank with, I hope you consider changing. Credit unions are much better and see you as a person, even! :-)

  22. Unbelievable! That should have been resolved immediately!

  23. Wow! All this talk of switching to credit unions has got me thinking! I'll put it on my Monday list!

    We do need more people like you, not just honesty in reporting it, but following through, like you did!

    You may or may not hear from Mr. S., but I am a very firm believer of what goes around, comes around!

    Kudos to you!

  24. Good for you, Joanna! It's amazing how difficult the banks make it to do the right thing -- and I feel sorry for the poor guy who made the deposit in the first place. 41 days! Give me a break! A powerful argument for a credit union, indeed!

  25. So glad you did the right thing--I would have also, after crying that the 27 thou wasn't mine. Terrible how long it took to straighten this out!

  26. Why is it that doing the right thing can be SO DARN DIFFICULT? Crazy. But you are a very very good person to make things right--I hope you get $27,000 worth of good things for your good deed.

  27. OMG!! I would have been going crazy trying to find my money???!! And that he didn't call you blows my mind but he probably thought you were a scammer!! Amazing!
    Glad he got his money back
    41 days...ridiculous!!

  28. Now you have a clear conscience, and an empty wallet! But good for you to persevere, which as you illustrate so well can be mind-numbingly frustrating when dealing with a bank or any other large institution.

  29. I sure get your frustration over the matter but can you imagine how it might have been for Mr. Siatoslavovakisia? I'm picturing someone who has limited English, who was directed to fill the form out as told and who had no idea what happened to such an amount.

    I would agree with others. This was not handled well at all by the bank. I'd transfer elsewhere. You did the right thing of course.. they just clearly don't care about the customer who lost his $27,000.00. And that's just wrong.

  30. What a total mess and you can kind of see why people don't always do the right thing if they make it this difficult to be honest. how sad. I'm proud of you for being persistant. someone should slap the banking industry for making this so difficult!!

  31. That's absurd. And most absurd is how much time and effort you had to put into fixing their mistake! They owe you and Mr. S a whomping big apology. And a life-time supply of lollipops.

  32. that is insane (no pun intended). exhale.

    hope you are doing well.

  33. aaaah 41 days of dreamin...
    pity it wasn't a long lost rellie...but really a bit unsettling isn't it...and the overseas call's the same over this side of the world...very sad that so many jobs go to countries with cheaper labour...

  34. What an incredible story! OK, these things happen, but 41 days....? Come on! You should have had the interest for those days credited to your account at the very least. But well done; as everyone else has said, you did the right thing. Fun to dream, though..... :-)

  35. That's scary! Imagine how many checks of Mr. S's could have bounced in that time.....

    Administrative ineptness is epic.

  36. Good for you! You did the right thing, despite every hurdle in your way. Amazing how long it took to return the money to the rightful owner...

  37. A great story because it enforces my belief that most people are good and honest. Also it shows many people in large corporations are powerless and lazy - but that's another story.

    Here's a similar story I just read the other day.,0,1784290.column

  38. It makes you wonder if Geezy Old Peep is still alive, or if he had a heart attack and shite the blanket when he realized his money was missing!

    I am beginning more and more and more and more to hate banks. Hate them. Not the least of which is they took back the money so that you and I couldn't use it to meet up some place at last!

  39. I bet there is an old person who is very grateful to you for your honesty, even if he couldn't read your letter or--let's not forget the reliability or lack thereof of the postal service--didn't get it to thank you himself. I cannot imagine what he may have gone through without that money.

    And I hate it when that stupid, stupid cliché "If it seems too good to be true, then it IS too good to be true" is RIGHT. DANG.

    It would have been so cool if you'd gotten a thousand dollar reward out of the blue or something. But I tell you, it is so wonderful to read such an honest story--from wishing it were true, to making absolutely sure that the money went where it should. Good people are such a wonderful find in this life.

    And I am glad I found your blog.

  40. Holy crap! First of all, I can't believe the real owner of that money didn't even call you. WTF?

    I mean, how are you supposed to become VERY GOOD FRIENDS in order to win his love (and, ergo, his inheritance) if he doesn't return calls?

    Also? You are a very good person. We need so many more people like you in this world.

  41. Wow such an interesting story! Did Mr. S ever call you? You are such a good person and did the right thing but would most people!

  42. This has to be one of the most absurd stories ever! No wonder banks are in a mess...

  43. How scary... thank goodness YOU were the one who received the money to give it back... Nice job! :-)

  44. Dang, girlfriend, that was almost as much fun as re-designing my blog. You're prominent on my list, and i've got two smashing new Song Graphics for upcoming releases. You'll recognize one of the tunes when it comes out, but it's new and improved!

    Wander by. More green. Less angst.

    I'm finally living in The Natural World. It's much nicer. Cleaner, I think.



  45. Banks are suppose To be the only institution that never makes mistakes! ha! I have worked at a bank before...mistakes do happen.
    I'm with you...This would have made me very suspious. Just think what could have happened if you had not pursued this.

    Good Job,

  46. A fun post to read, but probably frustrating for you to deal with. My experience is mistakes that are made in my favor are always found out in the end. I've even minor doctor bills more than a year after I thought they were forgotten.

  47. JJ - FYI I just linked your great story in my post on "thankful news" - thanks

  48. Wow, I hope that guy got his money and I wonder if you were able to incur interest on that money while it was in your account?

  49. Well, as you know I work for a bank, and when I think of this mentally, I just don't see how the original mistake happened. A $27M depsoit has additional paperwork that needs to be completed. I'm not a teller, so I don't know the details, but I do know that the world slows down considerably when things get over $10M. If he deposited it in an ATM maybe a computer scanned it and it never was looked at by humans? Who deposits that much money in an ATM though?

    Crazy stuff.




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