UPDATE: Ruth Wilson’s ordeal with her chair check has finally ended. While a refund won’t be coming from her bank, or the chair company, News 4 viewers have stepped up.
Several people contacted In Your Corner after Ruth’s story aired, wanting to help. The first person who called though wishes to remain anonymous.
We can tell you she’s a nurse with the VA, and she donated Ruth a check for the full $1,095.
News 4 surprised Ruth this week, with the check in hand
“Oh, I’m just flabbergasted,” said Ruth. “Tell this anonymous person I truly, truly appreciate it.”
The suspect who stole the check, Brent Benoit, is still at large.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While time hasn’t slowed Ruth Wilson’s mind, at 93 years old, her body can’t quite keep up.
So when it came time to buy a new lift chair, Ruth looked for her most affordable option.
“It’s a lift chair, and it raises you,” she said. “When you don’t have the opportunity to be able to get up on your own.”
She bought the chair from Daily Medical Equipment #2 in Midwest City. She originally paid with a $1,000 check, before realizing there were options.
“My niece, who works for a hospital in Dallas, called and asked me did I get a reduction from Medicare for it,” said Ruth.
Turns out, Medicare would pay a few hundred dollars, so Ruth sent a new check which paid the difference.
Daily Medical was to mail back the original check, but it never came.
The company though claimed the check had been mailed.
“So I called the bank after which, and asked about the check,” said Ruth “I was told that it had been cashed on a Saturday morning at 9 o’clock.”
FNB Community Bank surveillance captured the man who cashed the check, identified by Midwest City Police as multi-county felon Brent Benoit.
“We’re not sure how our suspect got [the check], but somehow rather he did,” said Major Robert Cornelison, with Midwest City Police. “We were able to at least find out who he is with photographs from the bank, do a little research.”
Brent was able to cash the check because Ruth left the pay-to line blank.
Regardless, Brent Benoit was charged by the state for obtaining money through false pretenses.
But would FNB agree that this level of fraud would rise to a refund?
“Well it was my mistake, but there are times where I go to stores and I don’t do that, or think that they have a stamp, I may have inadvertently done that as a result,” said Ruth. “That’s when [the bank told me] about the pay too not filled out, anybody could have done it, and therefore [the bank is] not responsible.”
We attempted for days to recoup Ruth’s money.
The bank blames Daily Medical, in part, for having seemingly not handled the check properly.
Daily Medical tells News 4 they only mailed the check at Ruth’s request and believes any refund should be coming from the bank.
Both companies also point to Ruth for signing a blank check and believe responsibility lies with this still missing felon.
“[Benoit is] kind of a metro transient,” explained Major Cornelison. “So we haven’t really found him yet.”
Caught in the middle is a 93-year-old woman who recently moved into a senior assisted living facility.
For Ruth, a thousand dollars could go a long way.
“Since we had been clients of theirs since 1969, I felt bad. Thought I was owed more than that,” said Ruth. “It would be a great deal, nobody lets me live here for nothing.”
Brent Benoit continues to ignore court dates related to this case. His numerous outstanding charges include unauthorized use of a vehicle, drug possession, and possessing stolen property.
The In Your Corner bottom line, never send out a check with a blank pay-to line. Should a business need to send you back one of your personal checks, make sure to have them void it out, or you can cancel it through your bank.