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Gardener, neighbor didn't live to enjoy cash found in garden

July 4, 2013 at 10:16 AM   |   Comments

NAPERVILLE, Ill., July 4 (UPI) -- Two people set to split $150,000 found in a McHenry County, Ill., garden have died, prompting some to wonder if the cash "is cursed," a lawyer said.

Robert Burt, a lawyer representing Wayne Sabaj, said his client, who found bags of cash while tending his garden in August 2011, was to enter into a settlement in court July 11 that would have split the cash between him and the neighbor but he died, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

Sabaj's neighbor, Delores Johnson, whose daughter made a claim for the money on her behalf, also died before the cash was divvied. Johnson, died in December at age 87, told her daughter "she had gotten rid of the money because it was cursed," Burke said, quoting court records.

"Apparently, she was right. The money is cursed," Burke said.

His client, 51, died from complications arising from diabetes Monday, the McHenry County coroner said.

When Sabaj's father learned his son died, he suffered cardiac arrest and was hospitalized, Burke said.

Burke said the settlement will proceed, the Tribune said.

The owner of a Naperville liquor store also filed a claim on the money, saying he had been robbed of the same amount of cash in 2010. Burke said Wednesday he has oral and written statements from the store owner dropping his claim.

The origins of the cash remain a mystery, the Tribune said.

Sabaj gave the money to authorities, saying he thought it was the right thing to do. The Tribune said he later suspected his find was drug money that tumbled from a plane.

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