CFO Atwater Announces Unclaimed Property Auction Raises $1.3 Million for Public Schools
Contact: Chris Cate
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the 2014 Unclaimed Property Auction held on Saturday in Orlando raised $1.31 million for Florida’s public schools. The highest grossing item was a Cartier platinum and diamond watch that sold for $24,000.
“I am very proud of our Bureau of Unclaimed Property for organizing a successful auction that raised more than one million dollars to help Florida’s public schools,” said CFO Atwater. “Our team’s tireless work to reunite Floridians with their money and property for the betterment of families, our economy and schools is tremendous.”
The unclaimed property auction consisted of more than 60,000 items from abandoned safe deposit boxes that had remained unclaimed despite years of exhaustive efforts to locate the owners. Should a property owner discover that he or she owned an item that was auctioned, however, the proceeds from the sale can be claimed any time at no cost.
Since taking office in 2011, CFO Atwater and his Bureau of Unclaimed Property have paid 1.2 million claims, returning $804 million to Florida citizens and businesses. This amount represents 34 percent of all funds returned since the program’s inception in 1961. Unclaimed money, including the earnings from auctions, is deposited into the state school fund, where, until claimed, it is used for public education.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud. 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.