My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

CFO Atwater delivers unclaimed property checkIn my role as Chief Financial Officer, I oversee the Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property. This program reunites Floridians with unclaimed funds held in dormant accounts at financial institutions, insurance and utility companies, securities and trust holdings, as well as tangible items from safety deposit boxes.

I’m proud to say that we’ve reached an exciting milestone. During my tenure as Chief Financial Officer, we’ve reunited Floridians with more than $1 billion in unclaimed property. Crossing this important benchmark means that we’ve returned nearly 40 percent of the program’s 54-year total in just the last four-and-a-half years.

We’ve accomplished this goal through proactive outreach efforts. Florida law requires companies to turn over inactive accounts to the Department after a specified dormancy period, at which point we work to reunite the funds or property with the appropriate account holder or the legally-entitled heir.

Property can end up unclaimed for many reasons. Life gets busy and it’s easy to lose track of paperwork, or perhaps you moved and your last paycheck never found its way to the new address.

Whether we’re holding a $50 deposit from a now-closed utility account or $1000 from a forgotten savings account, it’s your money–and it’s our job to get it back to you.

In celebration of this exciting milestone, I recently hand-delivered an unclaimed property check for more than $27,000 to a Palm Beach County resident. It was an honor to reunite this Floridian with his unclaimed property.

While millions of owners have been successfully reunited with their unclaimed property, the bureau still currently holds millions of individual accounts waiting to be claimed. I hope each of you will be inspired by Mr. Weber's story and take a few minutes to look for unclaimed property in your name.

The process is simple–visit our website at www.FLTreasureHunt.org to search for your name. If you find an unclaimed account that belongs to you, simply complete the claim form and provide the required documentation. That’s it! Your claim will be processed, validated, and then we’ll get your property on its way back to you. There is no statute of limitations and you can claim your property any time at no cost.

In addition to the website listed above, you may also call 1-88-VALUABLE, (888) 258-2253 or (850) 413-5555 to search for unclaimed property or to claim an account.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

CBS 12: Acreage Man Shocked To Receive $27,000 In Unclaimed Money

Sun Sentinel: Go on a treasure hunt for $1 billion in unclaimed money, jewelry, property

WPTV: Florida's unclaimed property program returns $2.5 billion to rightful owners since 1961

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida leading way in recovery

Bloomberg News: U.S. Unemployment Falls to Lowest Level Since May 2008

Florida Trend: Florida businesses win awards during National Small Business Week

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Tampa-St. Pete ranks in top 25 metros for small businesses

UF News: Providing entrepreneurial guidance for disabled veterans

Sun-Sentinel: Three arrested in Fort Lauderdale staged-crash scam

CFO Atwater Delivers $27,000 Unclaimed Property Check to Palm Beach County Resident

Recently, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater hand-delivered an unclaimed property check for more than $27,000 to Palm Beach County resident Michael Weber. This check delivery occurred in concert with the Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Unclaimed Property returning $1 billion under the leadership of CFO Atwater. CFO delivering unclaimed property check.

"It is a pleasure to reunite Mr. Weber with these funds - funds that rightfully belong to him," said CFO Atwater. "His story reaffirms the importance of our unclaimed property program and the life-changing moments it can create."

Mr. Weber’s funds derive from a years-old group annuity account. The account exceeded its maturity date and was turned over to the Department as unclaimed. Within 24 hours of arriving in the state’s unclaimed property database, a proactive outreach letter was sent to the last known address for Mr. Weber, notifying him that the state may be holding funds in his name. He answered the letter, completed the claim form and after verifying his identity as the correct Michael Weber, the Bureau issued the voucher delivered today by CFO Atwater.

To search for unclaimed property or to claim an account, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE, (888) 258-2253 or (850) 413-5555.

Florida's Bottom Line WebsiteFlorida's Bottom Line

Florida’s Bottom Line is CFO Atwater’s quarterly economic magazine, focused on providing the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's financial health and economic innovation. Inside FBL, discover Florida's emerging economic and business trends, learn from Florida's top business and community leaders in exclusive guest articles, gain access to essential small business and consumer resources and visualize key data with unique infographics.

The FBL website provides up-to-date financial news, statistics in graph form of Florida's leading financial indicators, archives of past FBL editions, special reports and a video message from the CFO. Updates are made to the FBL website regularly.

Read the spring edition on Booming Business.

Florida Economic Briefs

U.S. unemployment rate drops
The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in April, down 0.1 percentage point from March (5.5 percent), and down 0.8 percentage point from April of 2014 (6.2 percent). Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in March, unchanged from February and down 0.8 percentage point from March of 2014 (6.5 percent).
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida is second best state for business
According to a new report by Chief Executive, Florida is the second best state in the nation for business behind Texas. Chief Executive produces an annual survey of CEOs covering their views of the best and worst states for business. Over 500 CEOs across the U.S. responded, grading states with which they were familiar on measures including tax, regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment.
Source: Chief Executive

Stop Adult Financial Exploitation

Operation S.A.F.E.Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • The Psychology of a Scam
  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft
  • Resources to Keep You Safe

Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshop:

  • Wednesday, May 20th - Tallahassee
    10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Smith-Williams Service Center
    2295 Pasco Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32310
    Register | Directions | Flyer