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Wells Fargo refuses to cash widow’s CD from 1984 worth $400k

30 years ago, a husband bought a CD for his wife, but Wells Fargo now says it’s been cashed, despite the requirement that it be surrendered (which it clearly has not been).

cd wells fargo

cd wells fargo

Wells Fargo fights widow on 1984 CD

Thirty years ago, Rosemarie Braunstein’s husband did what many people did in the 80s, and purchased an $18,023.15 Certificate of Deposit (CD) at First Interstate Bank, storing it in his family’s records, according to KPHO-TV in Phoenix. At his passing 25 years later, his wife took the CD to the bank’s new owner, Wells Fargo, who refused to cash it.

The CD is worth roughly $400,000 and the widow alleges that the bank practically laughed at her when she brought attempted to cash it. Braunstein said in the 80s, when the couple owned a towing company, they frequently put cash into CDs. “That was the way you made your money,” she explained.

She claims that her husband gave her the CD for a “rainy day,” and she stored it with her children’s birth certificates and health records. She had forgotten about it until she had to put her house on the market in 2009. That’s when her battle began, which she calls a “David and Goliath” endeavor.

The bank claims they have no record of the CD

Wells Fargo refused to comment on the story to KPHO, but in court documents, the bank claims it had no records of the CD and that it could have already been paid out.

“He gave it to me so I wouldn’t be where I am, and it’s not right. It’s just not right,” she said.

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KPHO reports, “the bank states it has no record of Braunstein’s CD and suggests it could have already been paid out, according to First Interstate’s policies at the time, which allowed holders to sign an indemnity form and still retain the certificate.”

Lawyer notes the CD says it must be “presented and surrendered”

The widow is adamant that her late husband never cashed the CD, that it stayed in safe keeping for decades. Her lawyer notes that the CD states that it must be “presented and surrendered” in order to be redeemed. Yet it was clearly never surrendered.

The lawyer also says it’s not enough for Wells Fargo to cite a lack of documentation on its part as evidence that the CD had already been paid out.

“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?”

There is also an argument as to the worth of the CD, with the lawyer’s experts saying it is nearly $400k, and Wells saying it wouldn’t be over $60k. The case is set to be decided by the courts in January.

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