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Lost Treasures: Check for unclaimed items

11/25/2015

Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842
 
“Lost Treasures: Check for unclaimed items”
News 4 Jax – Jacksonville, Fla.
Story by Mary Baer
November 24, 2015

Click HERE to read the story
 
Each year, Florida's Bureau of Unclaimed Property receives thousands of items from neglected safe deposit boxes in banks around the state and it holds millions of dollars in unclaimed financial assets.  The state works all year trying to track down the rightful owners so you can claim what's yours.
 
"Right now we have more than 150,000 items in the vault," said Walter Graham with the Bureau of Unclaimed Property.
 
"We hold everything we have in here for at least two years," added Graham.
 
Over those two years, the Bureau tries to find the owners, but if they can't be found, anything with commercial value eventually goes to auction.
 
"When we sell them, we credit the cash to the account and the owner of the safe deposit box or their heirs can claim that cash indefinitely, forever," he explained.
 
Liz Tatum escorted us News4Jax inside the vault. "We open up a box and it's a surprise every time," she said.

"They're all just waiting here. They're sitting here, waiting. They're waiting to go home," she explained. "This is kinda our lost and found and hopefully we can reunite these items with their owners."
 
Tatum's found everything from $20,000 in cash stuffed in one to a simple cork. Regardless, everything gets the same care.
 
Aside from the valuables in the vault,  99-percent of what Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is holding for Floridians is cash and financial assets from old bank accounts. That includes home mortgage escrows, stocks, bonds, utility deposits and anything you may have long forgotten.
 
"If it wasn't for the Unclaimed Property Program, all of these assets would still be

held in some company somewhere, said Graham. “I call it in the darkness. We bring it out of the darkness and into the light so people can find out about it."
 
If you would like to check and see if something in that vault is yours, or if there's something that belongs to someone you know, it's simple.  Just go to https://www.fltreasurehunt.org/. The site explains exactly what to do and you can check as often and as many times as you would like.
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