(WSVN) - A South Florida woman tried to withdraw her rent money from an ATM. She says no cash came out. The bank disagreed, saying, “Oh, yes, it did.” How can she prove that she didn’t get the money? It’s why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Elena and Melvin don’t have a lot of money, but they have something more important: two adorable children.

Elena Taylor: “This is a miracle. This is the aim, the purpose of whatever I do and my husband is doing every day.”

The couple sacrifices for their children. Look: each child has their own room with furniture.

Elena and her husband sleep in the living room on an air mattress.

Elena Taylor: “We put all of our money to buy everything that our kids need.”

With money tight, it made a problem at the ATM much more critical.

Elena Taylor: “When I put my card inside of the ATM first, I saw activities restricted with my card.”

Elena was trying to withdraw $1,420 to help pay the rent that was due that day. After she called the bank to confirm she was making that large transaction, she was told to try again.

Elena Taylor: “It was the same information on the screen that restricted activity for my card, so basically, I couldn’t take this money from the ATM.”

Elena says she stood at the ATM for a minute or so before walking away. Then, when she checked her account that afternoon, she was stunned that it showed the ATM had dispensed the $1,420.

Elena Taylor: “I was crying, and I was – I couldn’t stop crying.”

Elena contacted the bank.

Elena Taylor: “They checked everything, and according to their information, I took this money from the ATM.”

That was all the money Elena and Melvin had to pay the rent that day.

She started to panic.

Elena Taylor: “I don’t know how I can pay my rent. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to lose this apartment because we just moved here.”

Some good friends heard about the mess and offered to help the couple.

Elena Taylor: “So, a few of my friends send me money, and yeah, I’m still owed money to my friends.”

The bank said they could not give Elena the video of her at the ATM. She knows she didn’t walk away with the cash, but now has no way to prove it.

Elena Taylor: “Because sometimes you feel that you are a little piece of sand, you know, at the beach, and you cannot do anything because there are huge banks with the lawyers.”

Well, Howard, how can you prove you did not get money from the ATM?

Howard Finkelstein: “File a police report, because the bank will give them the video. But remember, if it dispenses and you don’t see it and walk away, the bank is not responsible. However, the person who comes up next and takes the money has to return it, or it’s grand theft.”

We contacted Bank of America. While they couldn’t release the video of Elena at the ATM, a spokesman told me, “We reviewed the footage, and the machine dispensed the cash within the normal time frame.”

Elena then filed a police report, and they were given the footage.

Hollywood Police told us that since it was an active investigation, they couldn’t release the video, but they sent two still photos, writing, “It’s a person of interest at the moment that we would like to speak with. If anyone does know who this person may be, we ask that they call the Hollywood Police Department.”

Elena Taylor: “Definitely he was standing there while I was standing there.”

Elena and Melvin will move on. They lost that $1,420, and it’s been a big setback for them.

Elena Taylor: “And it’s really complicated to dig out from this depth. I hope that there is somebody who can help me with this situation.”

Elena and her husband both work hard, but as many people know, starting a family can be financially tough. To catch up and get that $1,420 back, they have started a GoFundMe page. If you want to help them a little, the link is under this Help Me Howard, along with the number to contact Hollywood Police if you know the fellow who was at the ATM after Elena.

Someone deposited a problem with you? Wanna withdraw it from you life? See if we can dispense a little legal advice to help you cash in.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

GoFundMe Page To Help Elena Recover the $1,420:

If you have any information about the man at the ATM, contact the Hollywood Police Department at 954-967-4636.

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

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