WSVN — Many people who have a smart phone have a bank app to transfer money. But when one man did that, his money disappeared into another account, and the bank wouldn’t tell him who had his cash, which is why he called up Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Carlos Gomez is the perfect example of why people want to leave their country to come to America.

Carlos Gomez: "Opportunities are here all day long, and we are very good example."

Carlos came from Argentina when he was 17 years old with $2,000 in his pocket. In New York, he met his future wife, Helen.

Carlos Gomez: "She was going to be a nun, so I convert her."

Then he took that $2,000 and went to work to take advantage of the opportunities America had to offer.

Carlos Gomez: "I did not graduate from high school, and I am a self-made millionaire, and I say it proudly."

After his wife passed away, Carlos sold his businesses and now just has a few rental properties, as he takes life easy, and one way of making his life easier is to use a phone app to transfer money.

Carlos Gomez: "It was an excellent app. It was very simple to transfer money."

A few months ago, he wired $1,000 from one of his bank accounts into another, entering his name as the recipient and his phone number. The money never arrived. Carlos found out why.

Carlos Gomez: "When I entered my telephone number, one digit. It was incorrect. It was supposed to be 00 and I went 09. My bad, made a mistake."

Carlos let the bank know he made a mistake and asked them to return his $1000 from the wrong account. Carlos waited for two months. When his money wasn’t returned, Carlos asked if he could try to get it himself.

Carlos Gomez: "And I say the bank, OK, fine, can you please tell me who was the recipient who got my money incorrectly? No, we can’t do that."

The bank wouldn’t return his money and wouldn’t tell him who had his money. Not the way to do business, says the successful businessman.

Carlos Gomez: "They created an app that has no safety. There’s no points or checks or anything. And then on top of that, they don’t give information or help you in any way."

Well Howard, when Carlos typed in a wrong number his money went to the wrong account. Legally is he entitled to get it back or is he out of luck?

Howard Finkelstein: "The good news, legally you are entitled to get the money back. The bad news, the bank does not have to return it and they don’t have to tell you the person whose account it was deposited in. However, the bank can return it, and the way they do it is by calling the person who got the money and get them to agree to release the money. If that person won’t return it, then you have to go to court and sue them."

We contacted Bank of America. They told us they would look into it. They noticed what Carlos said happened, that he made a mistake and typed in a wrong number. Since it was another Bank of America customer that got the money, they were able to retrieve it and return it to Carlos.

Howard Finkelstein: "Some people would say the bank should have caught this because the name on the account does not match the phone number. But banks only use the mobile number or e-mail, not the name you typed in, so be careful.

Carlos Gomez: "To my surprise, Bank of America called me, apologized."

Many years ago that $1,000 would have meant a lot to Carlos, but now, not so much, but it’s still his money.

Carlos Gomez: "It took Channel 7, Help Me Howard to pull through, and I’m very, very grateful."

Now, Howard said, the bank can’t tell you, who got your money. That seems odd. It’s your money, and you may feel you have the right to know who has it. But federal privacy laws prohibit the banks from releasing that information without a court order or the permission of the person who has you money.

Someone deposited a problem with you? Wanna transfer it to someone else? Contact us. Hopefully when you dial us up, you will cash in. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.


Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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