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Bank Credits $95K Junk-Mail Check to Customer's Account
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 19— Like nearly every American, Patrick Combs received a junk mail "nonnegotiable" check about three months ago offering gifts and prizes.
Unlike every other American, Mr. Combs went to the bank and deposited the $95,093.35 "check" in the automatic teller machine.
"I swore that the bank would reject the check," Mr. Combs said on Wednesday.
But the money was transferred and Mr. Combs put it in a cashier's check that was locked away in a safe deposit box, where it remains. The bank did not discover its mistake until about a month later, and now First Interstate Bancorp wants the cash back.
A spokeswoman for First Interstate, Shirley Hosoi, declined to comment, citing policies on customer confidentiality.
The company that issued the check, Association of Certified Liquidators, said no one had ever before tried to cash a promotional check.
"We're going to have to check into this," said the association's president, Mitch Klass.
It all began in May, Mr. Combs said, when he decided on a whim to see if a bank would accept the "nonnegotiable" check. On May 22 the bank credited his account $95,093.35.
Mr. Combs said he waited three weeks, but the bank did not mention the error.
"I was having fun with it," he said. "I would call my bank for my bank account balance and hear it jingle, 'over $100,000.' "