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Military insurance benefits sent to wrong man

A Florida man who wrongly received $200,00 in  military life insurance benefits tracked down the man to whom they rightfully belonged: A grieving father whose son died in Iraq.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Carlos G. Rojas didn’t know what to think when the military life insurance checks started showing up at his office. He didn’t know anyone who would have named him a beneficiary, and the checks totaled $200,000.

He called Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, which pays death benefits to military families, and the customer service representatives insisted the money was his and he should cash the checks, he said.

Rojas couldn’t do it.

“It’s not like picking up a penny you just found,” said Rojas, a 29-year-old marketing consultant. “Somebody’s life was connected with that money.”

Meanwhile, Carlos M. Rojas, 62, wondered why he had never received life insurance payments for his son, Army Pfc. Kenny Rojas, killed by a land mine in October in Iraq.

Servicemembers’ Group assured him the checks were in the mail.

On Tuesday, after weeks of searching, the younger Rojas tracked down the grieving father.

“I believe this belongs to you,” he said, handing him the checks.

Men used to work in same building
The two men had never met but once worked in the same Miramar office building — Carlos G. Rojas for Wells Fargo Financial and Carlos M. Rojas for Comcast cable television. Carlos M. Rojas had quit his job at Comcast, though.

The checks, addressed to only “Carlos Rojas,” were sent to the building because the elder Rojas had recently moved.

It took nine weeks, but Carlos G. Rojas was able to find a telephone number for the grieving father.

“I feel pretty good that somebody is honest enough to not spend the money,” said Carlos M. Rojas. “This is like the last gift from my son. It’s still very sad that he is not here. I cry every night.”

Servicemembers’ Group has spoken with the elder Rojas and will be sending him a letter of apology, spokeswoman Laurita Warner said Wednesday.

“We are investigating this situation to find out what happened and will take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said.