Who took Harriet Hausman's $4,643.75 state tax refund check remains a mystery, but the 89-year-old River Forest resident has gotten her money back.
Hausman said the entire amount was deposited into her account Friday.
"I have the money and I'm delighted," she said Monday.
When the deposit failed to show up in her checking account, Hausman began calling Bank of America, which told her it had no record of the check.
The Problem Solver called a spokesman for state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who was able to determine that the check had been illegally cashed at a Chase bank.
The case was then referred to the state treasurer's fraud division, which launched an investigation in conjunction with Chase.
Last week, a Chase representative called Hausman to say that although they haven't figured out who stole her money, they will give her the $4,643.75. The money was then deposited directly into her account.
"I'm still terribly, terribly annoyed with Bank of America where I sent two registered letters — and I, of course, have the cards that show that they received them — but they never even acknowledged it," she said.
Several readers and Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Revenue, contacted the Problem Solver after the original column ran to suggest that Hausman set up direct deposit for future state tax returns.
"That's really the safest solution," Hofer said. "This would save her a lot of time and aggravation."
Hausman said she would consider it.
"I don't usually get such a sizable check," she said. "Usually sending it in 'for deposit only' works. I've never had problems before. I don't know, I'd have to think about that but that's something that could be foolproof."
Ruff situation has happy ending
Hausman wasn't the only one to receive good news.
So did Mia the dog.
Mia, featured in the May 5 column, was injured Dec. 21, 2011, when a Bridgeport neighbor's dog got out of its yard and attacked her.
Mia suffered neck and back wounds, some of which required stitches. Her owner, Elizabeth Morrissey, paid a veterinarian almost $600 to patch up Mia.
Police later cited the other dog's owner for failing to restrain the canine. An administrative law judge found the neighbor guilty and ordered her to pay the city a fine — along with $569.26 in restitution that Chicago was to collect, then pass on to Morrissey.
The neighbor finally paid the city near the first of the year, and Morrissey had been trying since February to get her cut.