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CFO Jeff Atwater: Check for Unclaimed Property before Statewide Auction

5/13/2013

Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
(850) 413-2842
More than 76,000 items including jewelry, watches, and rare coins will be auctioned
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today asked Floridians to check for unclaimed property prior to his 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 June 8, in Tampa, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
 
In his first 28 months in office, CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has paid more than 850,000 claims, totaling more than $500 million, including a record-high $24.7 million in June 2011 alone.
 
“I encourage all Floridians to visit FLTreasureHunt.org and see what property they may have waiting,” said CFO Atwater.  “I am proud of the employees who work hard to return millions in unclaimed property every year. It is my goal to raise awareness about the program so that every last dime is returned to its rightful owner.”
 
At the auction, more than 76,000 individual items, including jewelry, watches and rare coins, with a minimum reserve value in excess of $550,836 will be sold. Featured items include a 1776 Continental Note, silver ingots, an 11-carat sapphire and diamond ring, silver flatware, one 1876 gold pocket watch, South African Krugerrands, and an 18-carat gold and diamond cuff bracelet. These items were turned over to the Bureau after being recovered from abandoned safe deposit boxes.
 
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, June 7.
 
Unclaimed money, along with earnings from the auction, is deposited into the state school fund, where, until claimed, it is used for public education. There is no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property at any time at no cost.
 
During the 2013 Legislative Session SB 464, which will allow certain claims up to $1,000 to be submitted and processed electronically, was passed and signed into law on May 1. This new automated system will eliminate the need to manually process approximately 27 percent of all claims, allowing unclaimed funds to be returned faster with no additional resources.
 
Since CFO Atwater took office, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting owners, heirs and businesses with more than $500 million, due largely to persistent efforts to contact owners. To search for or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or 850-413-5555.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses; and providing transparency and accountability in spending.