Fla. Returns Record Amount of Unclaimed Property

July 7, 2004

The Department of Financial Services continues to return record amounts of unclaimed property to the rightful owners, according to Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.

Gallagher announced that during the last fiscal year, the department returned nearly $100 million in unclaimed property funds, surpassing the previous year’s record of $78 million.

Gallagher urged to Floridians to search the state’s online database of unclaimed property at www.FLtreasurehunt.org to find out if the department is holding cash or property belonging to them. “Floridians could be a mouse click or a phone call away from lost treasure,” Gallagher said.

The department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property is currently safeguarding nearly $1.1 billion in cash and property belonging to Floridians.

The property comes from insurance proceeds, abandoned bank accounts, stocks, dividends, uncashed payroll checks, refunds and safe deposit boxes. Under Florida law, the holders, such as insurance companies, credit unions, utilities, banks and employers, are required to forward their unclaimed holdings to the state for safekeeping. The state attempts to locate owners or their heirs to return the property. When efforts to locate the owners fail, public auctions are held to convert safe deposit items box into cash that is held indefinitely for the owners or heirs to claim.

On July 31, the Florida Department of Financial Services will hold its annual public auction with more than $500,000 worth of unclaimed safe deposit box items.

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