Gephardt: Missing 401k Check Ends Up In Someone Else’s Account

Feb 27, 2020, 6:00 PM | Updated: 9:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah couple’s 401k disbursement check never made it to their mailbox, but into someone else’s bank account. Matt Gephardt investigates why it took 14 months before the family got the missing 401k check.

The Afu family wanted to do some home improvements, so they requested a loan from wife Lafimoa’s 401(k) retirement account. The $18,600 check was mailed in November 2018.

The problem is, they said the check never arrived in their mailbox.

When husband Ualani followed up with the financial institution, he found out the check had gone to someone else.

“It shows that it was cashed or signed, and deposited,” said Ualani. “Our hearts dropped, and it was like, how can that happen?”

For 14 months, the Afus said they’d been stuck between the company that sent the check and the bank where the money was deposited, with neither institution giving them answers or their money.

“We’re at the point we just don’t know what else to do,” said Ualani.

He decided it was time to Give it to Gephardt.

KSL reached out to Howard Headlee, president of the Utah Bankers Association to find out: If your money ends up in someone else’s account, what should you do.

“You go to the institution where you have a relationship and you say there’s a problem, and then that institution can contact the institution where the money ended up and figure out why is it there? How did it get in there? We think there’s a problem, and it triggers a legal process,” said Headlee.

That approach didn’t work for the Afus, and it didn’t work for KSL either. As we began digging, we, too, found ourselves stuck in the middle of finger pointing.

The 401(k) company told us to talk to the bank. The bank told us to talk to the 401(k) company.

We examined the check sent to the Afus. It’s clearly made out to Lafimoa Afu, but equally clearly is that it was endorsed by someone else: Oakiwear Outdoor.

We found Oakiwear Outdoor, a Utah company selling children’s clothing, and gave them a call. Their spokesman told us our call was the first he had heard of the matter. He said they get multiple checks every day and deposit them.

Three days after our call, he had good news for the Afus: a check for $18,600 plus interest as a gesture of good will.

The Afus were frustrated it took so long to get their money and remained dumbfounded at how the money ended up at a clothing store in the first place.

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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Gephardt: Missing 401k Check Ends Up In Someone Else’s Account