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Can I keep money occurring from a bank error? I'm not even sure if it is a "bank" error. It was an honest mistake.

Dracut, MA |

I had $500 dollars stolen from my account after my card was copied and used at a high end retail store in LA . The bank handled it and mastercard flagged it as being a fraudulent charge. The high end retailer put a provisional deposit into my account for $500, and the bank told me I could come in the next day to close the account (I've had a lot of issues with this bank and just wanted to be done with them). A day later the same retailer put in an additional $500. I closed the account. I didn't realize until I got to another bank to open a new account that I had way too much money. They went over the entire account and allowed me to close it, will the retailer or bank come after me for this? I'm worried but honestly need the money after getting behind on bills from the fraudulent charge.

Would I contact the retail store or the bank? I work 60 hours a week I'm not taking time out of my life to track down the proper department of this massive high end retail chain, am I obligated to? I live across the country from the location the money came from, it's not like I can drive down there and hand it to them. I'm sending them and the bank an email and leaving it at that.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. If money not yours and you willfully took it knowing there was an error than may be criminal repercussions here if you get caught.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

  2. No, you can't keep it.

    To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

  3. No. You may not retain this $. Aside from the legal issue, consider the ethical dilemma: say YOU accidentally over-paid for a service or merchandise, you would expect the over-payment to be returned, correct. Do the legal, and the right thing and notify the MasterCard bank and return it.

    Legal disclaimer: DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged and/or wherein the legal issue arises; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State in which your particular issue has arisen.