3OYS: Casa Grande man says special savings account turned into big loss

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- John Kee is proud to be back in school, working on getting a degree in administrative justice.

"I just completed my associate (degree) and now I have to go on to my bachelor's," he said.

And with all that studying, Kee says he does his best to keep his home organized. That's exactly what he was doing recently when he found something unusual.
   
"I was just going through some boxes and shredding papers, and as I was going through some stuff, I found some old bonds and I found an old CD," he said.

A CD is known in the banking industry as a Certificate of Deposit, and just about anyone can open a CD at his or her bank.
 
"You just put money in there. It's like a savings account. You collect interest off of it," Kee said.

Kee put $3,000 into a CD years ago and, with interest, he hoped it would increase in value.

"I've actually had this one since 1988, so it's been acquiring interest, 6 and a half percent interest, since 1988," he said.

So, when Kee came across that CD recently while straightening his home, he thought it could be a small fortune.

He did some research and discovered the bank where he deposited the CD had been bought by Wells Fargo. And Wells Fargo is exactly where he went to collect his money.
   
"Every time that I went in, they could never give me an answer," Kee said. "They said they just never had a record of it."

Kee said he couldn't understand because it clearly states on the certificate that access to the money is only "upon maturity, and upon presentation and surrender of this certificate."

"What else is there? I mean, I've got the proof right here in my hand," he said.

Kee says after going back and forth with Wells Fargo and still getting no answers, he contacted 3 On Your Side.

"I feel like they've stolen from me. I mean, literally. I mean, it's my money," he said.

We contacted Wells Fargo, and after looking into the matter, the bank wrote us an email saying it has no record of the account.

"Wells Fargo's policy is to keep records for an additional two years beyond the federal requirement of five years after any account activity has ceased," they said in a statement. "We encourage all consumers to actively manage their finances.”

In other words, Wells Fargo has no records beyond seven years, and in Kee's case, his CD was opened 26 years ago.

Kee says he's disappointed and he'll probably never open another CD again.

"It's probably safer to just stuff it in your own safe or under your mattress, I don't know. Evidently, once they get your money, they don't want to give it back to you," he said.

This is a good reminder to keep track of all your bank accounts.

If an account doesn't have any activity for a while, banks are required to turn the money over to the state's revenue department.