Real Name: Unknown
Case: Lost Heirs
Location: Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin
Date: 1936 to 1952
Details: On November 12, 1936, at a bank located in Ripon, Wisconsin, a man named George J. Stein opened up a savings account for $120. He had no social security numbers on file and did not leave a home address. Between 1936 and 1952, he opened dozens of bank accounts, primarily in savings & loans in the Midwest. However, he never returned to these banks to claim his money, which today totals at $130,000.
In addition to five accounts in Wisconsin, Stein also held three savings accounts in Indiana, two in Minnesota, and one in both Iowa and Illinois. One bank in Texas believes Stein was a depositor, but this remains unconfirmed. Also, it's not confirmed if the man's name is actually George J. Stein.
One researcher, Tom Becker, looked into a deposit Stein made in Indianapolis. He found that Stein had placed a real address for this account, which was 505 Washington Street. The address was for a company that made hats, gloves, and other accessories. Becker was able to find a physical description of Stein; this description matched that of a traveling salesman named Ralph Barnett. Barnett's sales territories matched the places where Stein's accounts were created. Becker believes that Barnett probably died suddenly while on the road, due to the fact that he never withdrew money from the accounts.
Another researcher, Frances Scoll, believes Stein may have had sinister motives. In her research, she discovered that Stein had written a return address on one of his deposit envelopes. The name written with the address was Ed Fay. While looking through newspaper archives, Scoll discovered that a man named Ed Fay had robbed a post office in Superior, Wisconsin, with his gang. In October 1903, Fay and his gang had stolen over $15,00 in stamps and cash from the post office. Fay was arrested shortly after the robbery; however, he escaped from jail in 1904 and was never seen again. Scoll discovered that Fay's age would match the age of Stein. She believes that Fay changed his named to Stein in order to cover up his crimes and still be able to access his money.
In order to collect on Stein's money, his heirs must first prove that they are related to him; then, they must produce handwriting samples that match his known handwriting. Although several possible heirs have come forward, none of them could prove their relationship to Stein as required in order to access the accounts.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the February 15, 1989 episode.
Results: Unsolved - There have been no proven heirs nor confirmation of the true identity of George J. Stein.
- State trying to return unclaimed property
- $1.2 million treasure hunt begins
- State holds dormant funds
- State's unclaimed property adds up
- 'Mysteries' television crew to film here
- Television mystery series picks Janesville for segment
- Mysterious bank accounts to be examined
- Janesville folks ‘go Hollywood’