(WSVN) - When her husband was accidentally killed, she received over $1.5 million in a settlement. But now, the money is gone, taken, she says, from her bank account. How did this happen? Here is 7’s Patrick Fraser with this special assignment report, “Missing Million.”
He was at a neighbor’s house and wanted an avocado. It cost Eliseo his life.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez (translation of): “And he went up the tree, and it had electricity, and it killed him immediately.”
It was 2013. Magaly’s life with her husband Eliseo ended that day, and her struggles to survive began.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “I was poor and homeless, and I would sleep in a car.”
Magaly sued in Broward Circuit Court and settled.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “It was $1,520,000.”
Magaly had no idea what to do with the enormous check. Her attorney had to show her.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “So he rode me to the Bank America, and I deposited the check.”
Her first acts with her newfound wealth: give each of her three children $50,000, then homes for them.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “I bought two houses, one for $250,000, and the other one for $160,000.”
Magaly says she was now left with more than a million dollars in the bank, spread out through 10 accounts.
Enough money to last a lifetime — till it started disappearing.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “I didn’t understand anything about accounts or account numbers.”
As we went through hundreds of pages of bank records, we discovered withdrawals from her accounts began right after she deposited the money.
In 2016, someone withdrew $100,000, and $22,000 on the same day from another of Magaly’s accounts.
The withdrawals kept on coming, days and months apart.
Here is a $50,000 withdrawal in 2019.
Patrick Fraser: “So you didn’t know for four years that someone was stealing your money?”
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “No. I never had money in my life, so I didn’t put too much attention.”
Magaly would get monthly bank statements that could have revealed the thefts, but she didn’t read them.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “The letter I would get, I would store them. I wouldn’t open them.”
Then, in 2020, Magaly got a letter from Bank of America that she did open and did understand.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “That is when I notice all the transactions, and I almost had a heart attack.”
The million dollars she had in her accounts, down to nearly nothing.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “[There’s] $3,000 right now. That’s it.”
Left with $3,000 after she says $997,000 was stolen from her.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “It’s terrible, terrible. I’m still … I can’t sleep.”
Who was able to take so much money from Magaly’s accounts? She says she has no idea, that she didn’t tell anyone her account numbers.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “Nobody knew anything. Not even my kids.”
A Bank of America spokesman wrote, “We have thoroughly investigated this case and confirmed that appropriate procedures were followed in these banking transactions.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said, because the case is under investigation, they can’t talk about it, but Magaly, understandably, can’t stop talking about it.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “The person who did this has to pay for it. I have to find out who did this.”
Eight years ago, Magaly lost her husband. Now she has lost nearly all her money.
Magaly Terry-Gonzalez: “I have to find out who did this.”
Who did this? Who has her missing million?
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