$60 million in newly identified property owed to hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses
The Massachusetts State Treasury has identified hundreds of thousands of new individuals, charities and businesses over the last six months that are entitled to over $60 million in unclaimed property. As part of an effort to return this money, the Treasury will be publishing in newspapers a list of names identified over the past six months owed more than $100.
"This new list is just the tip of the iceberg. While it contains approximately 51,000 names, these are only a fraction of the individuals, businesses and charities that we have on record," said Treasurer Steven Grossman, who oversees the Unclaimed Property Division. "This is not the state's money. It belongs to the citizens of the Commonwealth. We want to take every step possible to get unclaimed property back into the hands of its rightful owners."
Unclaimed Property includes forgotten savings and checking accounts, un-cashed checks, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, dividends, and contents of unattended safe deposit boxes. Most accounts are considered unclaimed and turned over to the Treasury for safekeeping after three years with no activity. In addition to the $60 million that the Treasury identified over the last six months, the Commonwealth is holding over $2 billion in trust until rightful owners can be identified.
The newly released list will include 11 accounts over $100,000, 23 accounts
Past individuals with claims include Tom Brady, Steven Tyler, Chelsea Clinton, Governor Deval Patrick, and Senator Scott Brown. In his first term in office, Grossman has refocused efforts to reunite people with their rightfully owned property by bolstering awareness about the program, cross-referencing names on the unclaimed property list with other databases, and dramatically enhancing outreach at various public forums. The Treasury's Unclaimed Property Division has visited 52 highly attended public of events this year and set up booths where citizens can do on-the-spot checks to see if they are owed money.
In Fiscal Year 2012, nearly $93 million in unclaimed property was returned to Massachusetts citizens, businesses and charities including $9 million in stocks and mutual funds, a 10 percent increase over the prior fiscal year. The Treasury has also utilized eBay to hold online auctions of unclaimed jewelry, coins, and other items from safe deposit boxes, garnering over $434,000 for the Commonwealth last year. Over the past four years, the Unclaimed Property Division has returned over $228 million and over 3.3 million shares of stock and mutual funds to their rightful owners.
The new unclaimed property list will be published in the Boston Globe on Sunday, September 9th and in the Boston Herald on Sunday, September 16th. The list of names will also be published in 37 regional newspapers between Wednesday, September 26th and Friday, September 28th.
The Treasury releases an updated list of unclaimed assets every six months as new accounts are turned over to the Commonwealth. There is no time limit to claim this property and, in many cases, claimants will receive interest. To determine if they have unclaimed property, citizens can call or visit www.findmassmoney.com.