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7 ON YOUR SIDE: DC woman seeks help to cash 1987 cashier's check

Christine Hough and her cashiers check. (ABC7)

The sum of $13,088 is a whole lot of money to let slip through your fingers. Just ask Christine Hough.

In 1987, Hough and her mother took a trip to their bank in Southeast DC. At the time it was called United National Bank. Hough's mother purchased a safe deposit box and withdrew money from her account.

“The bank manager,” Hough says, “suggested we put part of the money in a cashier's check and that's what we did.”

In 1993, six years later, Hough's mother died. Hough went to the bank. got the cashier's check, and went to cash it.

Hough, with the help of her family, has been trying to get the check cashed since 1993.

A couple of problems. First, United National Bank no longer exists. It was gobbled up by First Union Bank, which was taken over by Signet Bank, which was later snatched up by Wacovia Bank, which eventually was purchased by Wells Fargo Bank.

Hough has, over the years, written, and called all of those banks and the FDIC, trying to get her money. It appears that $13,088 has vanished.

“They still have my money and I still have the cashier's check,” Hough told 7 ON YOUR SIDE.

She called 7 ON YOUR SIDE after seeing our story on unclaimed cash. And we got to work trying to track down her money. What we learned frankly is a bit surprising.

First we called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They told us "checks that are more than six months old are 'stale checks.'”

It's up to the bank or credit union whether or not to honor one. But banking laws for local jurisdictions can override that. The bank that issued Hough's cashier's check was in DC so we called the District government.

The Department of Insurance Securities and Banking Commissioner Stephen Taylor told us this is what he says is supposed to happen with uncashed cashier's checks like Hough's.

“The money is turned over after being uncashed for a period of time to the state. The money is somewhere and she's entitled to it.”

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