Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 10 May 1994 13:37:16 EDT
Settummanque, the blackeagle <WKUVX2::WALTOML> writes:
>Steve and Betsy did something REALLY wrong!!
Steve (his real name was Gary) and his girlfriend Veronica (Betsy in
the story) moved suddenly from the apartment here in Greenwood, oweing
various folks here about two thousand dollars from our estimates.
They moved out about two months before we moved in to this apartment.
Gary and Jessiann has the same last names.
>Good thing that you look NOTHING like them, the neighbors say to you.
Gary was black. His girlfriend was white. The same racial makeup as
Jessiann and I. While this could easily be a racial matter, it wasn't
because everyone, including the police, can and do make mistakes. He
was brave and honest enough to admit that he found the right place,
but the wrong people.
Later, I got to work with Officer Robert Simpson with a new Scout
Troop in the "project" area of the city of Bowling Green.
>So, here you are, tossing their mail in the "file 13", until one day.
>Yesterday, as a matter of fact. Yesterday, you receive 14 checks.
>Fourteen extremely LARGE checks. Fourteen large checks to Steve, with
>the SAME last name as yours. You have a overdue morgage payment. You
>have a overdue telephone bill. You have overdue car payments and
>student loan payments. This money couldn't have come at a BETTER
>time! You and your spouse hold the checks from the state department
>of child welfare enforcement (child support) to the light and discover
>that you are holding almost 4 grand in checks!
I have been out of fulltime employment for a month and a half now, and
our savings have been really depleted. The only things that keep us
going are my consulting and Army Reserve work (and borrowing money for
both parents). So, when we held those checks up in our hands, it was
really like "lottery winnings day" for a brief period for us.
>Nobody knows what happened to Steve. Nobody cares what happened to
>these two. So you and your spouse sit at the dinner table, with these
>checks...this found money...literally in your lap. You call the
>property owner, and he says "He didn't leave a forwarding address".
>You call directory assistance and the post office and they tell you
>that the person don't exist. You call the police department and
>explain the situation and they can't tell you anything either.
And it would have been so very easy to sign the check and deposit
them. After all, they were written to a Ryan and he's not coming back
to get them!!
>1. Knowing that these checks could be cashed easily and perhaps
>without any reservation or objection from anyone, would you cash
>them? Why or why not? Would you cash ONE, believing that it
>could be considered as a "finders fee?"
Nope. Jess and I (after we fantasized about what would we do with the
money, what bills would be totally paid out and what kind of computer
system we would buy for her and where we would eat every night for a
WEEK (Fazoli's...she was on a fetticini kick that week!) ), we binded
them up and placed them away so that neither of us would see them.
We decided not to do it because one, Jess or I or both would end up in
jail; that two, we would be forever looking behind our backs; and
three, because Jessiann correctly predicted that "this is a test to
see how strong we really are" (she was right; I'll explain this at the
We couldn't cash them because of the way our parents raised us. But
we did sit and talk about what would have happened if our parents
didn't raise us and if we didn't have Scouting and the church to fall
back on (which prompted me to take mental notes and post this here!)
We thought about cashing one, as a "finders' fee" (there was one check
for $80 or $90). We came to the conclusion that cashing even one
would be just as bad as cashing all of them, so we didn't.
>2. What would you do with the money if it was in the form of cash
>in the envelopes rather than a check? Would it matter to you if
>someone mailed money to "Steve" or "Betsy" and you, not paying
>attention to the name (remember, they have the SAME last name as
>you...and even the USPS still places their mail in your box!), open it
>up and there's several hundred dollar bills?
I thought about that, and after talking with Jessiann, we would have
returned it as a money order to the address on the envelope. Only if
the addressee (the person that mailed the money) refused or does not
live at that address anymore, would the money be returned and
considered ours. That's enough time for the mail to find the correct
person and resend the mail to him or her.
>3. Knowing that people will be coming around within days to shut off
>key utilities (gas, water, electricity, cable), would you "deposit it
>in your account" and then use the interest to pay the bills (remember,
>we are talking about four thousand dollars, so the interest could pay
>one or two of your bills)?
Nope. By depositing the money, you are implying that you are the
owner of that money (most banks and credit unions do not "trace"
checks unless either party cashing or writing it requests it...and in
this case, neither party would). Even interest from money which is not
legally yours can be used in a case of fraud. What we did was over a
two day period, we called all of our creditors and informed them that
our payments would be later than normal and asked for their
cooperation in helping us through this period.
>4. Finally, how would you explain this sudden "positive cash flow" to
>others that know of your struggling and attempts to keep yourselves
>"afloat" if you kept it? If you didn't keep it, how would you explain
>why you chose to return it to the people? And whom would you return
We returned the 14 checks to the Child Support Enforcement agency, and
they in turn, sent a check for $300 to my former wife as a "finder's
fee" (in the letter, we explained that we realize how despirate some
people can be and that as a non-custodial father, I would rather have
the money returned than to have on my mind his children whom are going
without food or clothing perhaps because we were greedy. We also
relayed the point that as Scouting leaders, we can't cash them because
it would go against what the Scouting "codes" say about such
behavior.) Since my former spouse is now on AFDC, she couldn't cash
the check and she called me to ask me where the money came from.
I lied and told her "I don't know. I have no idea."
As I mentioned, Jessiann hit the nail squarely on the head. It *was*
a test, to see how we would handle taking care of someone else's
money. Two weeks to the day, my mother informed her lawyer that she
wanted Jessica and I to handle her financial affairs until such time
she is well enough to handle them herself again. My mother was never
told about the "found money" nor what we did with it.
When I told Jessiann about this over the phone from Dayton, she was
shocked. She was further shocked when I told her that after we've
talked about getting her another car, that my baby brother was giving
his car to me and I was giving it to her (my baby brother has had some
serious run-in with the law, and he'll have to walk everywhere he
wants to go to for a long, long time).
But she knew, as well as many others, what we in Scouting try to teach
our Scouts and what we as Scouters should be examples of as much as we
can be : that "....a Scout can be trusted".
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
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