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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 21:02 GMT
Name mix-up delays insurance cash
US dollars
The elder Mr Rojas had waited months for his insurance money
A US father whose son died in Iraq has finally received his life insurance cheques after they were returned by a man who received them accidentally.

Carlos M Rojas, 62, had been told the money was on its way, but it had been wrongly posted to Carlos G Rojas, 29, who worked in the same office building.

The latter spent nine weeks trying to track down the rightful owner of the cheques totalling $200,000 (114,000).

Carlos G finally handed over the money to Carlos M in Mirimar, Florida.

"I feel pretty good that somebody is honest enough to not spend the money," said Carlos M Rojas, who left his job after his 21-year-old son Kenny was killed last October.

"This is like the last gift from my son," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Someone's life was connected with that money... I couldn't just spend it
Carlos G Rojas

When marketing consultant Carlos G Rojas received the cheques at his office in January - addressed simply to "Carlos Rojas" - he contacted Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI), which pays death benefits to military families.

He said customer service representatives had insisted he was the correct recipient and told him to cash the cheques, but he said: "It's not like picking up a penny you just found.

"Somebody's life was connected with that money. I couldn't just spend it and go on like nothing happened."

Carlos M Rojas, of Pembroke Pines, who was still waiting for the payments, borrowed money from the army to fly relatives to Florida from Costa Rica.

He also used borrowed money to pay for the funeral of his son, who was killed when a landmine exploded near his armoured vehicle near Baiji, north-west of Baghdad.

Apology

After an internet search turned up a telephone number for the elder Mr Rojas, the men - who worked for separate companies in the same building - arranged to meet.

The elder Mr Rojas, himself an Army veteran, showed pictures of his deceased son to the man who had helped him get the money he was owed, the Miami Herald reported.

"It feels good," the younger Mr Rojas told the newspaper. "I think other people in the world would have done the same thing.

"And look, I just got a new friend. You can't put a price tag on that these days."

SGLI spokeswoman Laurita Warner said the mistake was being investigated, and it would send Carlos M Rojas a letter of apology.




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