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CFO Sink: Check for Unclaimed Property before Statewide Auction

10/6/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
 
More than 40,000 Items Including Jewelry, Watches, and Rare Coins will be Auctioned Later this Month
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink today asked Floridians to check for unclaimed property prior to her Bureau of Unclaimed Property’s Statewide Auction, an annual sale of unclaimed safe deposit box contents turned over to the state. The auction, which is open to the public, will be held October 24, 2009, in Ft. Lauderdale at the Embassy Suites Hotel. In the last three months, CFO Sink’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has reunited 67,270 citizens with a total of more than $41 million.
 
“I encourage all Floridians to visit FLTreasureHunt.org and see what property they may have waiting,” said CFO Sink.  “I am especially proud that in these tough economic times, our Bureau of Unclaimed Property has been able to return record amounts through a diligent, proactive, and business-like approach to seeking owners and responding to citizens.”
 
At the auction, more than 40,000 individual items, including jewelry, watches, and rare coins, with a minimum reserve value in excess of $500,000, will be sold.  Featured items include a 13-carat brilliant-cut diamond ring, a Longines diamond and platinum pocket watch, and a Rolex Submariner Oyster Perpetual watch.  A free catalog, along with details about the auction, is available at www.FLTreasurehunt.org. Participation in the auction is open to the public, but requires registration and a refundable $100 deposit. A public preview of all items will be held Friday, October 23.
Unclaimed money is deposited into the state school fund, where it is used for public education. There is, however, no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property any time at no cost.
 
During Alex Sink’s tenure as CFO, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting owners, heirs and businesses with more than one-third of all money returned since the beginning of the program, due largely to aggressive efforts to contact owners.  CFO Sink’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned $173 million in unclaimed property for the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year -- the largest amount in state history.  Since the program’s inception 48 years ago, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has successfully reunited owners or relatives of deceased owners with more than $1.4 billion in unclaimed property held in Florida.
 
The Bureau of Unclaimed Property is currently holding 8.8 million accounts, mostly from dormant accounts in financial institutions, unclaimed utility deposits, insurance benefits, premium refunds, uncashed checks and trust accounts.  It also holds watches, jewelry, coins, stamps and historical items from abandoned safe deposit boxes, some of which will be sold in October’s auction. 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.
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.