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CFO Alex Sink: Check for Unclaimed Property before Statewide Auction

8/10/2010

CONTACT: Jerri Franz or Jayme O’Rourke, (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 August 21, 2010, in Orlando at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center at the Florida Mall. In the past year alone, CFO Sink’s Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property has reunited citizens with more than $188 million, the largest amount in state history.
 
“I encourage all Floridians to visit FLTreasureHunt.org to see what property they may have waiting. We’ve collected a record high amount of unclaimed property in the past year, and even if Floridians have visited the site before, it’s always worth checking again,” said CFO Sink.  “I am also 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 $600,000, will be sold.  Featured items include a 52-ounce, 22K gold finger bar from a shipwreck; a platinum necklace with 214 diamonds totaling 28 carats; an 18K Rolex “Daytona” men’s watch and a platinum ring with a 6.6 carat, very high quality diamond.  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, August 20.
 
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.  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 $1.6 billion in unclaimed property held in Florida.
 
The Bureau of Unclaimed Property is currently holding 9 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.

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.