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St. Petersburg man receives stranger’s stimulus payment, says bank won’t help him return money

Better Call Behnken

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Rufus Anderson was stunned when he checked his bank balance in April and saw an extra $1,200 stimulus payment.

“I already received my stimulus,” he said.

When he checked the transaction history, it showed that the payment was supposed to be for a woman named Cecelia.

There was even a transaction trace number. He assumed Regions Bank would help him return the money to the IRS so it could be given to the person who was supposed to receive it in the first place.

Anderson said he was surprised that bank representatives told him to hang onto the money until the IRS figured it out and reversed the charge.

“The guy comes back, “well you know, I called somebody and there’s nothing we can do about it.’ I said, well, that person needs that money,” Anderson said.

That was in April. The money is still sitting in his account and it is eating at him.

“That person may need that money to pay a car note, a house note, or buy some groceries,” Anderson said.

He turned to Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken for help.

A representative from Regions Bank headquarters apologize for the delay in taking care of Anderson‘s concern and vowed to “escalate” the issue.

She sent this statement:

“We appreciate Mr. Anderson reaching out to us about an unexpected stimulus payment to his account and apologize for the delay in addressing his concerns. We understand how important these funds are to individuals and families impacted by COVID-19 and have escalated this issue for resolution. We encourage customers who have questions about a stimulus payment to contact us and also to consult the IRS website for further information.”

Meanwhile, Congressman Charlie Crist who serves Anderson’s district also returned a call from Better Call Behnken and says his office is working to help locate Cecelia so that she can receive the money that is due to her.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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