OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A letter from the White House and signed by President Trump was sent to Otis Wokaty in mid-April. The body of the letter states that it was sent to acknowledge he was receiving a stimulus payment of $1,200, as millions of Americans have from the CARES Act.
However, the payment was addressed to his mother, Doris. The kicker, she’s been dead for almost two years.
“I was shocked,” Otis Wokaty said about the money hitting his account on April 15.
At the top of the letter, “Decd” appears right next to Wokaty’s mother’s name. Right below it was his name.
“Why would a payment be made at all?,” he said.
His mother Doris died two years ago in May.
“She passed away on Mother’s Day; it will be two years this year,” he said.
Wokaty said the two shared a bank account before her death, but it was closed soon after.
“How did that get over to me? And [I] still don’t have an answer to that,” he said.
According to Wokaty, they did a final tax return on the account in 2019 before closing it, that being for the 2018 tax year. He said he thinks they may have gotten the money to him from that. Now, he refuses to cash it, saying it is still in his bank account and he won’t touch it.
“No, I won’t,” he said.
In fact, he said he’s trying to get rid of it for a few reasons.
“It’s not my money,” he said. “There’s so many folks need government money, needing to reach out and figure out how to fund out more.”
Wokaty added that he doesn’t want the IRS to come calling later on down the road.
“Trying to make sure that there’s not an IRS impact down the road with penalties, interest or confusing returns,” Wokaty said.
Phone calls and emails, Wokaty claimed he’s made every attempt possible to reach out and get it fixed. He said he’s called his bank and even U.S. Senators.
“Nobody had heard of that happening,” he said.
His bank told him his statement read that the deposit was for an IRS tax return, but Wokaty says the letter read that it was for a stimulus payment.
We tried digging for answers on our own here at KFOR. We called the IRS first and were sent to a voicemail that said, “We are unable to provide live service.” Next, the Social Security office. Again, sent to a voicemail that said, “Please do not call us about economic impact payments.”
In the mean time, Wokaty says the money will remain untouched until he hears back.
“It’d be easy to turn a head, but that’s not the right thing to do,” he said.
Wokaty also added that he hopes his experience can help people in the future, putting new programs in place for this specific issue.
“For being able to report it if you have erroneously received something, and to return it the right way,” Wokaty said.