This story crossed my desk this week. The story was being pushed by a communications consulting firm, so I wonder if there’s more here than what’s in the release. Even so, I have SO many questions …

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A Wayzata man is looking for a missing deposit of more than $171,000.

Harris Kaplan claims to have deposited two checks totaling $171,648.48 into an ATM machine at the Wells Fargo branch on Water Street in Excelsior. The money was never deposited into his account.

Fact Check: Wells Fargo officials say the money was credited to his account on October 27th, 2023. 

Kaplan claims to have contacted Wells Fargo on October 16th, 2023 to report the missing money. He claims the bank has yet to respond to his claims. He also claims Wells Fargo doesn’t know what happened to his money.

Fact Check: Wells Fargo officials know exactly what happened. See below!


This whole story sounds fishy. Here’s where my mind’s at:

  • Have the two checks cleared the check writer’s account?
  • Do you have the receipt from the ATM?

But, leaving my newscaster brain behind, I have a few editorial questions:

  • Why would you ever put more than $171,000 into an ATM?
  • You were at the Wells Fargo branch in Excelsior. Did they have a night deposit box? Were they open? (I checked Google Maps, and the night deposit box is 40 feet from the ATM, I took a picture.)
Photo: Google Maps

In my mind, this is a scam. Nothing new there; if I had a dollar for every scam “news story” or real photo of UFOs over St. Cloud that I could purchase, I wouldn’t have to work anymore. But this man has hired a public relations firm to move his story forward. I passed on the story but then had second thoughts.


An official with Wells Fargo Bank reached out to me Friday. According to them, here's the timeline of events:

  • The two checks were "eaten" by the machine on Saturday. They were mashed up in the machine before they were scanned and remained in the machine. The branch was closed at the time.
  • Because the ATM is at the end of the drive-up lanes (it is the one pictured), it's serviced by a third-party vendor. When Kaplan came to the bank the following Monday, they couldn't retrieve the deposit.
  • It took time for the vendor to service the machine and return the deposit to the bank. After verification of the checks, Kaplan's account was credited on October 27th.
  • There have been several attempts by the bank to contact Kaplan. Phone calls and emails all go unanswered.

In addition, Wells Fargo has issued this statement:

In the rare instance an ATM encounters a service issue, we take action to address and remedy the matter. We resolved this issue, and our customer’s account was fully credited. We apologize for the inconvenience to our valued customer.

What do you think? Has anything like this ever happened to you, or do you think this is a scam? Let me know by sending a message here.

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