Volume 4 Number 20
May 18, 2007


Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink delivered a check for nearly $300,000 in unclaimed cash to a Sarasota County youth instructor along with a lesson on the importance of regularly checking the Bureau of Unclaimed Property website.

“With nearly eight million accounts, the chances are good we are holding your cash or the cash of someone you know,” said CFO Sink. “We do our best to find and notify owners, but encourage Floridians to regularly check our website, www.fltreasurehunt.org, especially after a change of address.”

Tom, a YMCA site coordinator for a school-aged children’s program, who asked to be identified only by his first name, had been contacted by the Bureau and knew the state was holding money for him but didn’t know how much. The Bureau continued to hold Tom’s property, mostly from stocks and dividends, for several years. Then, the Montel Williams show called looking for an unclaimed property owner to spotlight on the show, and the Bureau forwarded Tom’s information suggesting he would be a great prospect. Tom and his wife taped the show earlier this month, and learned, on the show, the money they would receive was about three times more than they had originally expected.

As CFO, Sink oversees the state’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property, which holds unclaimed property accounts valued at more than $1 billion, mostly from dormant accounts in financial institutions, insurance and utility companies, securities and trust holdings. Currently there are 88,539 unclaimed property accounts for a total of $17 million in Sarasota County, 59,469 accounts for $10.1 million in Manatee County, 327,790 accounts for $44.7 million in Hillsborough County and 210,282 accounts totaling $39.2 million in Pinellas County. Unclaimed Property can be claimed free of charge, at any time, by visiting www.fltreasurehunt.org, or by calling 1-88-VALUABLE.

Until claimed, unclaimed property is deposited into the State School Trust Fund, and allocated by the Legislature for education. More than $1.5 billion has benefited Florida public schools since the program’s inception in 1961.