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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…Palm Beach Post: “Acreage man gets $27,000 share of $139 million owed county residents”


Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842
Palm Beach Post: “Acreage man gets $27,000 share of $139 million owed county residents”

Palm Beach Post
Written by Kristen Clark
May 8, 2015
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After battling cancer, partial blindness, and other illnesses for eight years, Michael Weber wracked up his share of hospital bills — so much so that he took to dodging the mailman out of fear of getting more collection notices.
But he won’t have to hide anymore. On Friday, the 72-year-old retiree received a $27,100 check, hand-delivered by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

“This money is a blessing to me. … I had no clue,” said Weber, who previously worked as a product buyer for Montgomery Ward.
On average, one in five Floridians is just like Weber — with money or property that’s rightfully belongs to them but that’s been left unclaimed and is now in the state’s care.
“This is not a gift; this is not a government subsidy or a program,” Atwater said, sitting on Weber’s couch in The Acreage. “This is your money. It’s just been lost for several years. … We’re simply reuniting you with something you lost.”
Statewide, the state Bureau of Unclaimed Property is the caretaker of about $2.6 billion in unclaimed assets, including money, jewelry, cameras, even autographed baseballs. More than $139.4 million of that is owed to Palm Beach County residents.
The bureau works to return the property to rightful owners, either by hearing from individuals who reach out after finding their names on the state’s online database or by proactively seeking those people, as happened in Weber’s case.
When the state sent Weber a letter notifying him of his unclaimed money, he said he thought it was a scam, the likes of which he’d heard so often about on TV.
“There are so many hoaxes around,” he said. “When I realized this is for real, I was so grateful.”

Atwater’s office said the Bureau of Unclaimed Property will soon cross a record-breaking threshold of $1 billion in money returned since Atwater took office in 2011 — which is about 40 percent of all money returned to Floridians in the program’s 54-year history.

Unclaimed property includes anything from dormant bank accounts and trust holdings to abandoned safety deposit boxes. State officials recommend that residents search for their names on the state’s online database to see if any unclaimed assets are owed to them.