CLARKSTON, Ga. - Back in the 60s a Green Beret set aside money. He had a young family, but sadly, this soldier didn't make it back home from Vietnam. But a box of effects did.
This soldier's son - now in his 40s - recently got a package of things that belonged to his father. Inside were several hundred dollars in cashier's checks that he now finds he may never be able to cash.
"The checks were discovered in my grandfather's safe deposit box when he passed away," said Richard Frye.
Some of 1st Lt. John Frye's things came to his son more than 40 years after his death. Inside was this letter from the Army that read, "...the funds comprise part of the currency that was recovered belonging to your late son John..."
Among other things, it included four cashier's checks for a hundred dollars apiece. Not a windfall today, but in 1969, it would have been worth more than $2,600. It was the beginning of a nest egg for this young soldier with Sidney Portier good looks and his young bride and son.
His son said, "The first thing I saw was July 1, 1969."
The cashier's checks were old, bought just weeks before 1st Lt. Frye was killed in Vietnam. But Richard, his son, thought, as many do, they would still be good. They were paid for in cash, and cash never expires. He talked to the bank that later bought the Poughkeepsie, New York bank that issued the checks.
Mr. Frye relayed what customer service told him.
"'I can't cash them because we have no record of their existence.'"
But the case wasn't closed yet. The bank rep told him when cashier's checks aren't cashed the money could be sent to the state.
"So, I contact the New York comptroller's office and looked under their list for unclaimed property. I actually found stuff for my aunt who passed away in 2006, but I didn't see anything with his name."
The FOX 5 I-Team reached out to a bank to find out if or when cashier's checks expire. Well, they do, yet they don't.
In Georgia, the bank has to honor the cashier's check for three years. Although the bank we spoke with, as a courtesy, extends the expiration date to five years. But, after that, the checks are sent to the state's unclaimed property division. Georgia's division told the FOX 5 I-Team, if you can provide proper identification, you can collect even 20 years later.
But here's the rub: Mr. Frye's checks were written in New York, and so far, his son has found no record of it there. So here's his take-away...
"If you find something like this cash it right away. Get them cashed."
Now here's where we can help him with a little detective work. We need to find the now-defunct Poughkeepsie Bank's ownership changes over the years. Then, we search where each bank is headquartered and look at the unclaimed property divisions in those states.