After going into diabetic shock, an Illinois man died 10 days before he was set to received a portion of the $150,000 he uncovered in his yard. But he is not the only person who has died since making a claim on the cursed cash.
Wayne Sabaj, an unemployed carpenter, turned in a bag he found stashed in Johnsburg yard two years ago. The duffel, hidden in the peppers he grew in his yard, was filled with $20 bills totaling $150,000.
Sabaj, who lived with his father, said he took the bag inside to show him.
“I told him, we have enough problems, now we got another problem," he recalled. "Look what I found in the garden. What are we going to do with all this money?”
“It wasn’t my money,” he told WGN-TV. “What am I going to do? I don’t know where it came from. With my luck it came from a bank robbery, and I’d be charged with bank robbery.”
Authorities said if no one claimed the money by Oct. 1, 2012, Sabaj could keep it. Then two people came forward with claims. The owner of a Naperville liquor store filed a petition to claim the cash saying it lost $150,000 in 2010 robbery.
The other claim came from the daughter of Sabaj’s 87-year-old neighbor Dolores Johnson. Johnson’s daughter claimed her mother has memory problems and could not remember where she stashed a load of cash she had been saving for years.
According to Sabaj’s attorney, Robert Burke, Johnson “told her daughter the money is cursed and got rid of it.” Johnson died six months ago.
"Apparently, she was right," Burke said. "The money is cursed."
Sabaj’s father went into cardiac arrest after his son’s death and remains hospitalized.
An agreement between Sabaj and Johnson’s daughter was set to be formalized in court on July 11.
"Wayne's death is unfortunate but it's not expected to stop the settlement," Burke said. The money will now go to Johnson’s daughter and Sabaj’s son. The liquor store is expected to withdraw its claim based on evidence provide by Johnson’s daughter.