Flatties buy used couch, find $46k

Last updated 14:11 16/05/2014
US couch

BRIEFLY RICH: The flatties kicking back on the now much poorer couch.

US COUCH
CASHING IN: Lara Russo with the cash found stashed in the couch.
Us couch
PAY DAY: "The most money I’d ever found in a couch was like 50 cents," Reese Werkhoven SAID.

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For all the screaming and carrying on, their neighbours thought they'd won the lottery. But it was a lumpy old sofa stuffed with US$40,000 ($46,226) in cash that had three young roommates raising a ruckus.

And here's the other side of the ticket: they returned the money to the 91-year-old widow whose couch had been given away.

"We just pulled out envelopes and envelopes," said Cally Guasti, a US social worker who shares an apartment with two friends in New Paltz, 120 kilometres north of New York City.

"My mouth was literally hanging open - everybody's was - it was an unfathomable amount."

"The most money I'd ever found in a couch was like fifty cents. Honestly, I'd be ecstatic to find just $5 in a couch," student Reese Werkhoven told The Little Rebellion website.

Guasti said she and her friends had bought the beat-up couch and a chair for US$55 at a Salvation Army thrift shop in March. They noticed the arm cushions were weirdly lumpy. Then, one night in April Werkhoven opened a zipper on one arm and found an envelope.

It contained US$4000 in bubble-wrapped bills.

Guasti, Werkhoven and roommate Lara Russo opened the other arm zipper and started mining the treasure stashed inside. They counted it up: US$40,800.

"We put it all on a bed," Guasti said. "We laid it all out and started counting. And we were screaming. In the morning, our neighbours were like, 'We thought you won the lottery'."

Later on, Guasti found a deposit slip with a woman's name on it. Werkhoven called her the next morning.

"She said, 'I have a lot of money in that couch and I really need it'," Guasti said.

They drove to the home of the woman, who turned out to be the elderly woman. She cried in gratitude when they gave her the cash she had hidden away.

The woman's family had donated the couch to the Salvation Army while she was having health problems.

Guasti said the three had considered the option of keeping the money, but decided they couldn't do that.

"At the end of the day, it wasn't ours," Guasti said. "I think if any of us had used it, it would have felt really wrong."

The woman gave the trio a reward of US$1,000, Little Rebellion reported.

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- AP

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