Four German children stumbled across a cash filled envelope with 15,000 Euros (22,000 dollars) on their way to school in Frankfurt, Germany. They couldn’t believe their luck and generously distributed the money to their friends on the school yard.
In addition to all the money, the children also found some legal papers and an application for a Chinese visa. They could have gotten away with their newly acquired wealth, but one of the kids felt guilty and reported everything to one of the teachers.
The police was thus involved and they wanted to collect all the money. However, not everyone felt the need to clear their conscience. Only 12,000 euros turned up at first. In the end, after the teacher made a final appeal to the students’ conscience 14,040 euros were turned in to the police station.
The possible owner of the money was identified as a 33-year-old Afghan man. He was unable to tell how much money was in the paper bag. He did say that the money was intended to cover his trip to China and to cover some outstanding debts. The police will only give him the money back if he manages to provide documentation proving that it is indeed his money.
In Germany there is an honest finder’s fee of 3%, so even though some of the kids might not be too happy about missing out on all that money, they would still be looking at 421 euros each. In the case that nobody claims the money, they would get the full amount.
What happens to unclaimed property in the US? Every state has unclaimed property laws which declare money, property or other assets to be abandoned after a period of inactivity of three to five years. Currently unclaimed property offices hold several billion dollars of “lost money” belonging to millions of people.
If you found a large amount of money would you keep it or turn it in? Here are some interesting thoughts by Xin Lu at Wisebread on how to handle things like that. However, like the following video shows, most people who find small amounts of cash will choose to keep it but who can blame them?