Craig Haskell says his grandmother saved everything.
So, even though she died in 1998, he just recently found something of hers in a safe deposit box: a certificate of deposit from 1997.
"I just took it out and I looked at it and said, 'Oh my god. That’s $32,000,'" he explained.
The paper reads $32,308.97, to be exact, with Haskell's name on it.
But when he tried to cash the CD, Wells Fargo denied him.
"She’s gone now; I have the death certificate to prove it," Haskell said. "My name’s on the check. And Wells Fargo can’t tell me what happened to the money."
To find out why, Haskell contacted us. And we contacted Wells Fargo on his behalf. The bank said it would investigate and send him a letter. Haskell later shared it with us.
One sentence reads, "A review of Wells Fargo’s records show the CD is no longer open." The very next sentence says, "Wells Fargo cannot find any record regarding the closure of the CD."
Haskell is confused.
Perhaps Grandma Norma cashed the $32,000. Or, maybe she let it roll over.
Either way, he believes Wells Fargo should prove it.
"There’s got to be accountability for where the money went," he said.
To Wells Fargo, the piece of paper in Haskell’s hands that reads "certificate of deposit" is a receipt, not a CD.
"The fact that a family member may find an old paper receipt showing a person had a certificate of deposit with Wells Fargo does not mean the certificate of deposit is still open," a bank spokesman said in a statement.
Haskell still has questions.
"There’s got to be something, somewhere that ties to this number," he said, pointing to the information printed on the CD.
Actually, Wells Fargo says no.
It’s not required to keep a paper trail for a 19-year old CD because state law requires banks to keep records for only seven years.
A spokesman told us that dormant or abandoned CDs are supposed to be transferred to the state’s unclaimed property repository, and Wells Fargo found "no record" that it shifted Norma's money.
Therefore, Haskell can't cash his CD.
So, where did Norma Ivanovich’s $32,000 go? It’s a mystery.
Haskell says the puzzle of his grandma’s savings is a call for better bank records.
"It’s the principle," he said. "There’s something written out on an official document from Wells Fargo with my name on it, with my grandmother’s name on it. And they have no record of it."
If you put money into a CD, keep the paperwork. And remember that banks might only keep records seven years.
Also, ask your bank what they’ll do if you forget about a CD or leave it dormant.