A young Massachusetts boy got his reward for doing the right thing after he discovered a checkbook containing a stack of cash while he was playing at a park outside Boston.
“I ran up the slide and there was this black checkbook, and I opened it up and found $8,000 in it and brought it to my uncle,” 7-year-old Aiden Wright told CBS Boston.
Wright and his uncle turned the money in to police, much to the relief of Elias Santos, a contractor who left the cash – he had reportedly just been paid – on the park slide while he was playing with his children.
“I am so grateful because we don’t have people like this no more,” Santos told CBS.
As a reward for his honesty, Santos gave Wright $100.
“We go to Sunday school and he’s been taught to do the right thing,” Ellen Wright, Aiden’s mother, told the station. “This shows the lessons had been learned and we are so proud.”
According to the Christian Science Monitor, although Wright has been lauded (deservedly) for his honesty, turning the money in to police may have also kept him out of legal trouble.
In most states, the finder is required to contact local law enforcement and give them the money or property for a period of time, allowing the owner the opportunity to claim it. If the rightful owner does not come forward, the money goes to the finder.
Keeping the money without contacting local authorities is considered theft, according to the legal information website HG.org – though the rule usually only applies to discoveries of significant monetary value.
If money is found on private property, the case for “finders keepers” becomes even more complicated. The CSM said it usually comes down to whether the money was “lost,” “abandoned” or “mislaid.”
For example, two homeowners in Arizona found $500,000 in ammunition cans hidden in the walls of their house when they were renovating.
“The owners tried to claim the money – which had been hidden by the previous owner – saying it should come with the house, but the [previous homeowner’s] two daughters staked their own claim,” the CSM said.
The money was eventually awarded to the daughters because a court determined it had been “mislaid,” or intentionally left somewhere but then forgotten.
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