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BANK SEEKS RETURN OF FUNDS MAILED IN ERROR

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A bank wants a 75-year-old widow and 12 other people to pay back $60,000 in pension benefits mistakenly mailed out for almost eight years because of a computer glitch.

Natalie Hudson of Hurt, Va., said she received a letter in October telling her she had received 78 checks totaling $3,815 that were a mistake. She had been receiving benefits from her deceased husband's pension after it expired, and now Wachovia bank would like to be repaid.A total of about $60,000 in excess payments were sent to the 13 people.

"It's not my fault, and I don't have money to pay," Hudson told Friday's USA Today. "I'm so upset I can't sleep."

While the bank hopes to get its money back, a spokesman said Friday it's not playing Scrooge.

"We did send out letters to some people but we're not going to come get them or sue anybody," Ken Brown said. "There won't be any retribution if they don't pay."

Hudson and the other recipients were pension beneficiaries of furniture maker Lane Co. Hudson has been living on $500 a month Social Security since the checks stopped this year.

Attempts to locate Hudson's telephone number Friday for further comment were not successful. Lane Co.'s offices in Altavista, Va., were closed for Christmas.

Wachovia executive vice president Hugh Durden says the bank regrets the mistake, but that doesn't entitle Hudson and the other beneficiaries to someone else's money.

The bank's shareholders will have to pick up the loss if Hudson and the others don't pay, he said.