Veteran's widow battles money mix-up

Ruth to the Rescue helps veteran's widow

The day Ruth to the Rescue met Patricia Fisher she was enjoying some ice cream and celebrating her 84th birthday.

At 84 years young, her ice cream treats are one of her favorite "vices," and she even jokingly calls it her "booze"!

While Mrs. Fisher was enjoying her treat, she has not enjoyed a long battle over a money mixup regarding some $3,100. Mrs. Fisher's husband, Chester, was a World War II veteran. She applied for survivor's benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009.

"There's so many papers that you have to file," said her daughter Janet Wescott. "There's so much information that you have to get together."

Wescott helped her mother with the paperwork during a very busy time in their lives, as Mrs. Fisher was moving into an assisted living facility.The benefits were supposed to start coming in January of 2011. However the money didn't show up in her account in January, February or March.

Money Mistake Uncovered

"It was in March we realized the account number was... incorrect," said Janet Wescott.

In fact, not only was the account number wrong, but Patricia Fisher no longer had an account at Comerica Bank, where the funds had been mistakenly deposited. Her daughter notified the Veterans Department and Comerica Bank. Future deposits were quickly corrected, but Wescott has been trying to recover the $3,100 that went into the wrong account ever since.

She shared her frustration with Ruth to the Rescue, "Comerica says the VA needs to initiate it. The VA says Comerica need to initiate it."

And she added, "I have a hard time believing that it's the first time in the history of Comerica or the VA that an account number was wrong on a piece of paper."

Ruth to the Rescue Gets Involved

The Ruth to the Rescue consumer unit contacted the Veterans Affairs Department on October 29th. Ten days later, a spokesman could only say the department was still evaluating the situation, and he thanked WDIV for bringing the matter to its attention.

That's when Comerica Bank stepped in and sent Patricia Fisher a check for the $3,100. The bank's spokesperson Kathleen Pitton sent Ruth to the Rescue the following statement.

"We obviously take matters regarding the welfare of our soldiers and veterans and their families seriously. While we have no authority to collect the funds that were incorrectly deposited into the account the VA identified as the intended recipient, we have issued a check to Mrs. Fisher. As you know, this is an issue between Mrs. Fisher, her attorney who provided an incorrect account number to the VA, and the VA. With all ACH transfers of funds, it is the responsibility of the sender (in this particular case, the VA) to validate that funds are being sent to the correct person and to initiate a correction if an error was made. We recognize that this situation has been unresolved for too long and at the detriment of Mrs. Fisher, which is why we issued a check to her today. We will work with her attorney and the VA to be reimbursed for those funds."

Janet Wescott can't believe her long, two and a half year battle is finally over.

"It was amazing what Ruth to the Rescue was able to do. That two and a half years I couldn't do it, and in less than two weeks Ruth to the Rescue, Boom! Done! Thank you so much!"

If you have a consumer problem you think Ruth to the Rescue should investigate, send an email to