(WSVN) - Twenty-one years ago, her mother bought a bank certificate of deposit (CD) for both of them. It was put away and forgotten until a few days ago. But now the bank is saying they have no record of the CD. Before giving up, the South Florida woman made a call to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Dianne looks at the pictures…

Dianne Robbiano, searching for her money: “She was really something, my mom.”

The memories of her mother come pouring out.

Dianne Robbiano: “Momma was the best. You can ask everybody. Those pictures show she was such an awesome woman. Everybody loved her.”

After her mother Alice passed away a year ago, Dianne started sorting through her treasures.

Dianne Robbiano

Dianne Robbiano: “I found a letter that my brothers wrote, her letters. I got to read them. A love letter from my dad. And then I found the CD, and I was like, ‘Aww, I got some money here.'”

It was back in 1995 that Dianne and her mother had bought a $1,000 certificate of deposit in both their names.

Dianne Robbiano: “Momma comes up to me one day and says she’s got some extra money. She wanted to put it in the bank. I said, ‘OK.'”

For 21 years, Dianne had forgotten about the old CD they had bought at First Union, which became Wachovia and then became Wells Fargo, so she headed there and found out there was no record of their 21-year CD.

Dianne Robbiano: “Other people called me and said, ‘We can only go back seven years,’ and I’m like, ‘OK, that doesn’t make sense.’ So I go back to the bank. I went back to the bank several times.”

After she got frustrated, Dianne’s husband went to the bank. They kept trying to find a record of the CD, and then delivered the final word.

Dianne Robbiano: “And they told him, ‘Well, you’re out of luck.’ The money’s like thrown away. It doesn’t make sense, ’cause it was never cashed.”

With interest, that $1,000 could now be worth around $2,000, but the money is not the only reason Dianne is refusing to give up. It’s for her mother.

Dianne Robbiano: “I just fought for her because she did this for me, out of love for me. This is why I knew she would want me to fight this.”

Well, Howard, it’s been 21 years, a couple of bank mergers, but the CD doesn’t appear to have been cashed, so legally, can a bank say, “Sorry, it’s gone?”

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No. They cannot refuse to pay unless they can prove it was cashed. If they have no record of that, because Dianne has physical possession of the CD and will testify that they didn’t cash it, the bank has to pay her the original $1,000 plus any interest that accumulated since 1995.”

We contacted Wells Fargo. They were very nice and said they would investigate, but couldn’t reveal any information with us to protect Dianne’s privacy. So let her pick up the story…

Dianne Robbiano: “Offered $500.”

Dianne said no.

Dianne Robbiano: “Then she told me she got me $1,000.”

Dianne said, “What about the interest?”

Dianne Robbiano: “And Monday she called and said that they would give me $2,000. I’m happy they came back and resolved it with that amount.”

Dianne is happy, even happier that she knows her mother would be proud of her for not giving up.

Dianne Robbiano: “I just can’t thank you enough. You are the best. I am overwhelmed, overwhelmed.”

Patrick Fraser: “You are sweet. Thank you.”

Now, what if you find an old CD that’s in a late relative’s name? You might be able to cash it. How do you do that?

The steps to take are under this Help Me Howard story. Good luck.

Someone deposited a problem with you? No one have any interest in helping you? Then contact us. You can bank on us trying to withdraw you from the situation.

For information on how to recover old CDs or bank accounts, click here.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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