Entries in Money (11)


Boy Finds $10,000 in Kansas City Hotel Room

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- A curious 10-year-old boy rummaging through the drawers of his family's Kansas City hotel room came across a stash of $10,000, and he and his father turned it over to police.

It's not clear when -- or if -- they will get the money back.

Tyler Schaefer, 10, and his father Cody were staying at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Kansas City last Saturday when the boy did his usual searching through closets and drawers.

"He's one of those kids that likes to look for stuff," Cody Schaefer told ABC News affiliate KMBC.

Tyler hit the jackpot when he found the cash, but didn't get to keep it for long. His father turned the money over to two policemen who were at the hotel.

The police were just as shocked as the Schaefer family that such a large sum of money was lying in a hotel room. But they were also suspicious that no one has come forward to claim the money.

"Generally if someone was missing $10,000 someone would call back, but no one has called back," Capt. Tye Grant of the Kansas City Police Department told ABC News. "Wouldn't you think if you lost $10,000 you would get it back?"

The manager of the Hilton Airport Hotel refused to comment.

The Schaefers may eventually get the money, but it will be 19 months before they can be sure the money is theirs.

Under Missouri law, the Schaefers must file an affidavit within 10 days stating where and when they found the $10,000. A judge will confirm the value of the money, and send a copy to the clerk of the county commission.

The family must then wait 40 more days and if no one has claimed the money, the Schaefers need to put a notice in a newspaper advertising the unclaimed sum for three weeks in a row.

If the money is still unclaimed six months after the circulation of the last advertisement, then it can go to the Schaefers.

However, there is a one year period in which the owner of the money can come forward and expect reimbursement from the Schaefers.

Cody Schaefer does not seem bothered by the fact that he and his family may not receive the money, nor does he regret the decision to hand the money over to the police.

"We didn't have the money when we got there, so it doesn't change much," Schaefer told KMBC.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


George Zimmerman Prepared to Flee US with $130,000, Judge Says

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- George Zimmerman was preparing to flee the U.S. with his wife and $130,000 donated by supporters while he was out of jail on bond awaiting his murder trial for the death of Trayvon Martin, a Florida judge wrote Thursday.

Zimmerman, whose bail was raised to $1 million, "was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution, but such plans were thwarted," Judge Kenneth Lester wrote in the bond order released Thursday.

Lester berated Zimmerman for misleading the court about how much money he and his wife had stashed in bank accounts. In June, prosecutors proved to the court that Zimmerman had tried to appear indigent to the judge, when in reality he had hundreds of thousands of dollars that supporters had donated to help his legal defense.

Lester said that Zimmerman "flaunted the system," by misleading the court about how much cash he and his wife had in bank accounts.

Zimmerman was out on $150,000 bond when the ruse was discovered by prosecutors. He had been charged in April with second-degree murder for killing the unarmed 17-year-old in February.

Zimmerman quickly created a website through which supporters could donate money to go toward his defense fund. Lester said it was easy to conclude that Zimmerman was going to use the money raised through the website to flee.

"It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people's money," Lester wrote.

"The defendant also neglected to disclose that he had a valid second passport in his safe deposit box. Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee," the judge wrote.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Lester's order, and Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, had no immediate comment.

Lester ordered Thursday that Zimmerman could only be released from jail now if he could come up with $1 million bond, which Zimmerman may be able to do by drawing on the more than $200,000 in donations and paying 10 percent to a bail bondsman.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara said Zimmerman's credibility will now be a major issue which he will have to address.

O'Mara also argued for the bond last week, telling the judge that the prosecution had a weak case against his client.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Good Samaritans Return $13,000 Found on Garbage Can

WKRN/ABC News(CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.) -- A trip to the convenience store for a soda led to a surprising discovery and a wild goose chase for a Tennessee couple after they found a bag stuffed with nearly $13,000.

Kristy Allen of Clarksville, Tenn. spotted a blue bag sitting on top of a trashcan while she was waiting in the car for her husband, Ken. She pointed it out to him when he came out of the store, and told him to grab it because it looked suspicious.

“It could have been a purse, and I don’t mess with women’s purses,” Ken Allen, 49, told ABC News. “So I brought it to the car, and when we opened it we saw hundreds of hundred-dollar bills, at which point my wife said, ‘Lock the door!’”

They found a wallet in the bag and called all of the numbers they found in it, to no avail.

Then they went to the address listed on the driver’s license they found in the wallet, but nobody was home and neighbors said they had never seen the man in the ID photo. They gave up and locked the bag in their safe, then took it to the police the next morning.

The police inventoried the money, counting a total of $12,764.73. After checking surveillance video, they determined the bag had sat in front of the convenience store for about 45 minutes before the Allens noticed it.

“We were meant to find it. Most other people would throw a big party,” Ken Allen said. “The only reason we were able to do the right thing is because my wife doesn’t miss anything.”

The owner of the bag, a 51-year-old man, has since reached out to the couple to thank them. He was in the hospital after having a bad reaction to medication when he got the news somebody had found the bag.

“When he called, I asked, ‘Dude, why did you have so much money?” Allen told ABC News. “He didn’t really explain that, but he did say he was very grateful to have it back, and was glad we were the ones who found it.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado Man Finds $10K in Las Vegas Airport, Hunts Down Owner

Getty Images(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.) -- A Colorado man granted a Christmas wish through an unlikely act of honesty and persistence. He returned $10,000 in cash to its rightful owner after finding it in two Caesar’s Palace envelopes at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Mitch Gilbert, 55, was traveling home to Colorado with his wife from Las Vegas, where they had gone to run the Rock and Roll Marathon. As Gilbert was going through security, he saw two sealed envelopes from Caesar’s Palace left behind on a table.

“I’m just standing there figuring someone will turn around and I can hand them their envelope, but no one turned around,” Gilbert told ABC News. “I’m in Las Vegas. If I hold up the envelope and say, ‘Who lost money?’, everyone will say, ‘I did!’”

Gilbert said he wanted to return the envelopes but wanted to make sure they went to their rightful owner. After a few minutes passed, he put the envelopes with his belongings and went through security.

He quietly told his wife what had happened and they waited by security to see if someone would come back looking for the money.

“We sat there for 30 minutes until our plane was ready to take off,” he said. “No one ever came back. I was sure they would come back.”

Gilbert put the unopened envelopes in his backpack and decided he would take them home and call the airport from home. Back home in Greenwood Village, Colo., Gilbert and his wife opened the envelopes.

“I opened them up and saw the $5,000 in each one. I literally fell over. I was like, Oh my God,” he said. “I called the airport lost and found the next day and they said, ‘We’re sorry. We can’t help third parties,’” Gilbert said. “And I said, ‘Well you have to help me. If you had lost it, you’d want to make sure you got it back.’”

Gilbert did not give up and kept calling back for at least 30 days until someone reported the money missing. Finally, after convincing airport officials to give his phone number to anyone who inquired about the cash, Gilbert received a phone call from Ignacio Marquez of El Paso, Texas.

“I said, ‘I have every penny right here,’” Gilbert said. “He thanked me like five times, saying, ‘You don’t know what you’ve done for my family. This is the greatest Christmas present.’”

A grateful Marquez insisted that Gilbert accept a $1,000 reward, which he did, but said it “felt funny keeping it.”

He and Marquez arranged for Gilbert to deposit the money into his bank account. At the bank, Gilbert told the story to the teller and other customers overheard. People started shaking his hand and giving him hugs. Someone from the bank called a local news station and Gilbert’s story quickly spread.

Gilbert has been “shocked” by the reaction he has been getting, saying it has been “absolutely insane.”

“I’m getting emails from people all over the country thanking me, blessing me for doing the right thing, for teaching a lesson to children,” Gilbert said.

“I did it for two reasons. First, every time I put myself in the guy’s shoes, I would get sick to my stomach and I knew that I would hope to God that somebody would find me or turn it in,” Gilbert said. “The second reason—and both are equally important—is that I wanted to set a good example for my kids. As a family thing, I wanted to do the right thing.”

Gilbert said he has had friends ask him if he took a “stupid pill” or got hit on the head with a “stupid stick” for not keeping the money.

“Most people admit to me that they never would have given it back, especially after one call to the airport,” Gilbert said. “But I’m in residential real estate. I see a lot of people go through hardships. I mean, I could use ten grand, but it wasn’t my money. That was the bottom line.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Jersey Church Distributes $30,000 in 'Reverse Offering'

Design Pics / SW Productions/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New Jersey church turned the traditional money collection part of the service on its head with a "reverse offering" this weekend. When the Liquid Church passed around its popcorn-bucket collection baskets, people were told to take an envelope with the words "God Trusts You" on them. Each envelope contained a $10, $20 or $50 bill.

In total, the church distributed $30,000 of its money Sunday to 2,100 people, but there is a message behind the money, lead pastor Tim Lucas said.

"This wasn't a handout," he said. "That's the tip of the iceberg. We challenge people; we want them to creatively invest this money."

The congregants in the church's three locations in Morristown, New Brunswick and Nutley were instructed to take the money, no strings attached, and use it as a "spiritual stimulus." The pastor said this meant different things for different people.

One woman, a single mother, was thrilled that the $50 she received could help her with gas money for the week, which had been a struggle. Another person decided they would use the money to buy groceries and cook a meal for neighbors whose home had been damaged by Hurricane Irene.

Yet another woman is a baker of custom cakes and said the $50 could cover the ingredients for a cake, which she would sell for $500 and donate the money back to the church as part of an initiative to feed the homeless in the community.

Lucas said his intentions were pure and that there was no political message or ulterior motives behind the action.

The pastor spoke about how each U.S. bill has the words "In God We Trust" on it and Lucas inversed the idea into "God Trusts Us." He said that when a person is fortunate enough to have money brought into their lives, God trusts that they will do the right thing with it to help others who are less fortunate.

The non-denominational Christian Liquid Church has three locations, but no permanent buildings. It holds services in hotels and schools. Lucas said the church invests in people, not buildings, and that the church took a financial risk with Sunday's distribution of money.

While the reverse offerings won't be a weekly event, Lucas hopes to do it again in the future, although the surprise will not be the same. "People were shocked," he said. "When they were reaching in, some looked like God was going to strike them down with lightning."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


All 9/11 Families, Except One, Have Received Compensation

David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ten years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, deceased victims' families and the injured have been compensated over $7 billion.

Of 2,977 people who lost their lives as a result of the attacks, only one victim's family has refrained from settling its claims with the airline and a security company they say was negligent.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, created by Congress, has distributed the money to survivors and victims' families.  They have received an average of just over $2 million tax-free per claim, according to Kenneth Feinberg, a former pro bono administrator of the fund.

In addition, 2,300 physically injured 9/11 victims or those who suffered from respiratory problems cleaning up the World Trade Center were each awarded $400,000 tax-free, on average, Feinberg said.

Feinberg started distributing compensation 11 days after the program was established and began cutting checks in April 2002, until the fund expired by statute in June 2004.

He said 94 families who lost a loved one on Sept. 11 opted not to participate in the fund and decided voluntarily to litigate in Manhattan.  And 93 of those 94 settled over the past five years.  Only the Bavis family is going to trial.

The Bavis family of Massachusetts will resume their lawsuit in New York City against United Airlines and security company Huntleigh on Sept. 19.  The family first filed the suit in September 2002.  Mary Bavis, the named plaintiff, is the mother of Mark Bavis who was aboard United Airlines flight 175 from Boston when it struck the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Other companies and cities that the Bavis' initially sued have been dropped from the suit over time.  The New York district court dismissed Massport, for example, which oversees Boston Logan airport, Don Migliori, an attorney representing the family, said.

The families that opted out of the fund and eventually settled may have received an average of under $5 million, using figures from the report of Sheila Birnbaum, the 9/11 mediator.  The information, however, is confidential.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wayne Sabaj Finds $150K in Garden

Martin Poole/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Wayne Sabaj may have one of the greenest thumbs around. The unemployed Illinois man wandered into his garden and unearthed a crop of cash -- about $150,000 worth.

"Now what do I do with this?" Sabaj wondered.

He was making a pork roast that night and wanted something to accompany it so he went out to his garden. It's a farmer's delight and has everything from beets to onions to sprouts. As he searched for broccoli, he instead found a bag full of cash, nestled among the peppers.

He took the discovery back inside to his father, Mitchell. But while some may have been delighted at the find, the younger Sabaj was disheartened.

"We're in trouble now," Sabaj told his father. He was worried that the money may have come from a bank robbery and didn't want anything to be pinned on him. So he called the sheriff's office in McHenry County, Illinois, to come pick it up.

When they arrived, they found another bag almost in plain view. Sabaj stood by his decision to let them take the money back to the station, where the contents' total worth was determined to be $150,000.

"I'm sure Wayne was battling with moral decisions at that point, " said Lt. James Popovits of the McHenry County Police.

Sabaj's moral dilemma was probably even more tortuous because he, like about nine percent of the country's population, is unemployed.

He used to work on million-dollar homes as a carpenter. Now, he says, that market has dried up and jobs are sparse. He currently is living with his father. But despite his financial struggle, Sabaj said turning in the money was the right thing to do.

"That could have been somebody's life savings, you know? That wouldn't be fair if I just kept it," Sabaj told ABC News.

Now this isn't an everyday occurrence in the unincorporated McHenry County. In fact, authorities have no idea of where the money came from. They have determined that there were no residential or commercial burglaries in Illinois where the money could have originated. Now they are checking with other states and are testing the money for forensics.

According to Popovits, they are searching for the owner, even leaving a note in the spot where the money was found. But if that owner never comes and a source for the cash is never determined, the money could go back to the man that found it first, Sabaj.

It would not be a quick process. The money would have to go unclaimed for a year and, even then, Sabaj would have fill out extensive paperwork before the money is his.

That is assuming he still wants it. Police have suspicions that the money was not legally gained.

"Let's just say it [money] wasn't found in bags typically used for storing money," said Popovits.

Sabaj said he doesn't think about the money much.

"I don't even think I'll get it back and even if I do, the government's just going to take a third of it back," Sabaj joked. "You just can't worry about it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


California 'Ponzi Moms' Allegedly Steal Millions

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Taking a page out of former New York financier Bernard Madoff's playbook, California residents Maricela Barajas, Juliana Celeste Menefee and Eva Perez are accused of running a Ponzi scheme that allegedly took millions of dollars from more than 40 people.

The trio are being called the "Ponzi moms" because they are all former members of the Diamond Bar elementary school PTA.

Investigators in Los Angeles say Barajas, Menefee and Perez convinced people to turn over their life savings or take equity in their homes while working at PTA events.

The suspects allegedly told their "marks" that they could guarantee them 100 percent returns on their investments through a company that distributed products to Disneyland, Disney hotels and small retailers.

They collected about $14 million from 2008 to 2010 while returning only $10,000, according to police.  When pressed by their investors for money, the trio allegedly explained that the delay was due to an internal audit of the phony business.  All but $1.4 million of the money has been recovered.

It was all a Ponzi scheme, according to investigators, and each woman now faces 22 counts of grand theft of personal property and securities fraud, which could mean a maximum of 13 years in state prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Utah Man Finds $45K in New House and Returns it to Rightful Owner

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(BOUNTIFUL, Utah) -- Josh Ferrin, an artist for the Deseret News, stumbled across some treasure in his new house -- a trove of $45,000 in cash and coins tucked away where no one could see it.

With thoughts of car and house payments in his head, he still decided to return all of the money to the previous owners of the house.

"I've got two boys and we teach them to be honest and to do what is right and I knew this was a teachable moment that I would never get back again," Ferrin, of Bountiful, Utah, told ABC News. "So I thought we would have fun with it. We would do something courageously honest with it. Something awesome. It's been a great thing for us and our kids."

Just hours after he had closed on the house, Ferrin was checking out his new "man-cave" at the back of his garage, where he was planning to lay out his tools and hang things up. He looked up and noticed a little access panel in the ceiling with some carpeting jutting out.

"I thought, maybe this could be a little hidey-hole that had been finished and my kids could go up there and play," said Ferrin. He grabbed a ladder to climb up and investigate. It was dark, but he was able to make out an old and dusty ammo box.

At the time, Ferrin thought he had stumbled on a stash of $800 to $1,000. He climbed back up and found seven more money-filled boxes.

"I'm human and immediately I thought of all the things we really needed the money for, but I believe in doing what is right and you can't dwell on those sorts of things when it's not your money," Ferrin said.

There was some dissent within the family on that, but Ferrin said he would not "name names." Many people told him, "What were you thinking?! It was your house! It's your property!"

But he and his wife knew they had to return the money to its rightful owners.

Ferrin found out that the former owner of the house, Arnold Bangerter, had been the father of a family of six and lived in the house until he passed away last November. He had worked for the Department of Fish and Game and had been saving the money up for at least a decade, wrapping rolls of bills up with orange fishing twine.

Ferrin contacted Bangerter's children, and returned the money. He has not yet heard back from them, but assumes that is because they are still counting the money.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mega Millions $319M Winning Ticket Sold in New York

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- At least one person in the country may choose to retire earlier than expected after hitting the Mega Millions lottery for $319 million on Friday.

The winning jackpot ticket for Friday's drawing was sold at Coulson's News Center in Albany, N.Y. According to the Mega Millions website, the jackpot is the sixth-highest in the game's history. The largest jackpot was $390 million in March 2007.

The jackpot has increased every Tuesday and Friday since Feb. 1, when the previous winners, the Bolke family of Illinois and a group postal workers in Michigan, split a $93 million jackpot.

Since its inception in May 2002, Mega Millions has sold more than 21.88 billion tickets and 110 people have won the jackpot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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