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CFO Sink Delivers $28,000 Check to Baker County School Nurse

10/19/2007

CONTACT: 
Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan                                   
(850) 413-2842   
 
MACCLENNY – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today delivered a check to Shelly Bennett, a Baker County resident, along with a reminder about the importance of regularly checking the Bureau of Unclaimed Property Web site for your unclaimed property.
 
Bennett, a nurse at Baker County Middle School, was recently contacted by the Bureau regarding unclaimed cash, mostly from certificate stocks, that had been turned over to the state. CFO Sink returned the money to Bennett today via a check for more than $28,000.
 
“I’m so glad we were able to find Ms. Bennett and give her this money back,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Bureau.  “I encourage all Floridians to visit our Web site at www.FLTreasureHunt.org. With nearly eight million accounts, the chances are good we are holding cash or property for you or someone you know.”
 
The Bureau is holding 7.8 million accounts, mostly from dormant accounts in financial institutions, unclaimed utility deposits, insurance benefits, premium refunds, uncashed checks and trust accounts, as well as watches, jewelry, coins, stamps and historical items from abandoned safe deposit boxes. Currently in Baker County, there are 3,286 unclaimed property accounts valued at more than $374,000; in Duval County, there are 308,638 accounts valued at more than $39 million; in Bradford County, there are 7,290 accounts valued at more than $746,000; in St. Johns County, there are 41,688 accounts valued at more than 5.4 million; in Clay County, there are 50,119 accounts valued at more than $4.6 million, in Nassau County there are 14,621 accounts valued at more than $1.5 million; and in Union County, there are 1,528 accounts totaling $127,589.
 
The Bureau receives items that have been abandoned in safe deposit boxes for at least three years and spends up to two years searching for the rightful owners or heirs.  The Bureau has had tremendous success in finding owners.  In the past year alone, the Bureau returned a record 255,000 accounts valued at more than $171 million.  But when owners or heirs cannot be found, the items are auctioned.  While the proceeds from the auctioned items are transferred to the state's Public School Trust Fund, the money is held in the original owner’s name and can be claimed for free at any time. Since the program’s inception in 1961, more than $1.5 billion has been transferred to the fund. 
 
The Bureau has successfully reunited owners with more than $1 billion in unclaimed property.  Over the past five years, the program has returned more than $546 million-- more than half of all the money returned since the beginning of the program-- due largely to aggressive efforts by the program to contact owners.  Unclaimed property can be claimed for free at any time by the rightful owners or heirs by logging on to www.FLTreasureHunt.org or by calling the Bureau at 1-88-VALUABLE. 
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.