CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)-- Barbara Fournier and her daughter Kristen Forrester are a lot happier these days. “Thank God!” Barbara blurted out laughing.

[WATCH: Chandler woman's missing $60,000 returned to retirement fund]

Barbara may be laughing now, but she and her daughter were not happy in a previous 3 On Your Side report when the two explained how almost $60,000 vanished from Barbara’s retirement account-- leaving her with a zero balance.

In fact, in one giant withdrawal, a whopping $54,141.56 was removed from her account. "Well, my heart stopped. I was like where is my money?" Barbara told 3 On Your Side on Feb. 3.

[RELATED: Chandler senior citizen says $59K vanished from her IRA]

The money was in a retirement account held by a well-known investment company called Principal. But according to the women, Principal wouldn't tell them what happened to the money or what could be done to get it back—and this had been going on for four months.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and contacted Principal about all that missing money. Principal wouldn't speak directly to 3 On Your Side-- citing privacy issues-- but Barbara and Kristen say Principal told them the following information: Principal mistakenly flagged Barbara's account as inactive and, as a result, the investment group sent all of Barbara's money to the Arizona Department of Revenue to hold as “abandoned money.”

“They say that it should never have happened,” Kristen said. “They said, ‘We're still not quite sure why it happened, but we're still looking into other accounts to make sure it didn’t happen to other accounts,’” Kristen remembers a Principal representative telling her.

After 3 On Your Side's involvement, not only did Principal find the money but they immediately returned it to Barbara's account-- where it should have been the entire time. Principal also returned the interest that was lost, which was around $64,000.

Barbara and her daughter say it only happened for one reason. “We wouldn't have gotten any answers this quickly, especially to have gotten the money this quickly, without 3 On Your Side,” Kristen said.

The family tells 3 On Your Side that the ordeal has been so troubling to them that they will eventually be moving the money out of Principal and into another financial institution.

[SPECIAL SECTION: 3 On Your Side]

Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.

 
 

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