Columbus man gets half a billion dollar check by mistake - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Columbus man gets half a billion dollar check by mistake


Patricia Smith couldn't believe the words that were coming out of her son's mouth. The VA dependency that 22-year-old Allen gets each month for college expenses had come in from the U.S. Treasury Department as normal. However, this time it wasn't the usual $650, it was more than $690,000,000.

"He immediately, immediately went to the VA officer at Fort Benning ... turned in the check," Patricia Attwood Smith said.

Patricia says Allen gets dependency checks each month because of his father who was a Veteran of the U.S. Air force. She says she is proud of her son for turning the check in and knows his father is smiling down on him.

"I'm proud of him for what he did because if it were me and I was in his shoes I probably would have done the same thing."

While his mother and sister both are singing young Allen's praises he declined to speak with us on camera. His mother says he is a very proud young man.

"He's very humble, and very shy and he really doesn't want to be teased a lot about this," Smith said.

We left several messages Friday for the regional VA office in Atlanta but got no calls back. We spoke with several people at the VA office on post. They declined to comment on the matter but did say that Atlanta was handling the issue.

"I have talked to the general inspector VA. He is going to make sure that check gets back to where it belongs."

Smith says inspectors don't know what happened and told her that it could have been a misprint or they could have been hacked.

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