Local News

Local Man Helps Others Get Back Money

Posted December 26, 2006 8:43 a.m. EST

— A Cary man is helping people get money back that's rightfully their's. But, as WRAL's Valonda Calloway reports, a lot of people find his good nature hard to believe.

The Craddock family is celebrating Christmas and a new baby, but money has been tight.

"I'm out of work because of her. We've tried six years to have her and I'm staying home to enjoy every minute of it," said Lyn Craddock.

Santa Claus came early in the form of Matthew Johnson, a plumbing supervisor at North Carolina State University. Johnson called the Craddocks and told them they had more than $2,000 waiting to be claimed.

The money was a refund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Craddocks have known about the money for years. The family said they received the letters but ignored them because they all offered to help recover the money with strings attached.

When Johnson called offering to tell people how to get their money for free, Craddock said she could not believe it.

"I was just really, really surprised that he was calling to do this out of his own goodness and not trying to take advantage of us," she said.

Johnson spent hours scrolling HUD's Web site, finding North Carolinians and calling them or mailing them letters. It all started with Johnson checking to see whether he was owed any money.

Johnson said he has contacted about 200 people and walked them through the process.

"Pretty much everyone when I call, they start off skeptical, thinking I'm trying to sell them something," he said.

"I just want him to be thanked beyond I don't know what," Craddock said. "You don't hear of people doing that. You really don't."

Johnson said he is making the calls after work in the evenings and he said some people hang up on him. If they do, he sends them letters with information to collect the money themselves.

Johnson said he plans to keep contacting people until he has run out of names.