Finding A Home For Unclaimed Cash - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Finding A Home For Unclaimed Cash

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SALISBURY, Md. - Have you ever wished for a little extra cash to just show up when you wanted or needed it?

It may be your lucky day! Just because you filed your tax returns doesn't mean your fortune ends there - there could be more in store for Maryland residents.

"I'm currently holding almost a billion dollars... for over nine hundred thousand Marylanders," said State Comptroller Peter Franchot.

And he's on a mission to give it back.

"That's fascinating, I had no idea," said Jim Rapp of Salisbury.

The funds are a collection of things like abandoned stocks, and even possessions found an old safety deposit boxes left behind at banks.

"They're not allowed to just pocket that money," Franchot said. "After three years, they have to turn it over to the state of Maryland."

Once it's in the state's hands, cash is held until the rightful owners - or next of kin - come along to collect it. Physical property, like jewelry or coins, stay with the Comptroller's office for about a year. Then, it's sold or auctioned  - often on eBay - with the profits going to the state legislature to fund programs. But, that doesn't mean it's lost. The Office keeps a record of all the money gained, and that too, is held until someone comes forward.

"I gave a two thousand fifty dollar check a few years ago to a couple who had misplaced - if you could believe it - a safe deposit box with a number of very valuable stocks in it," Franchot said. "It was pretty amazing."

There's more than $41 billion out there nationwide, with the average claim coming in just under $900.

"I heard about it so I got on the computer," said Jayne of Millsboro. "It turned out there was a relative that had an account and the money was sitting there. It was a few thousand dollars."

One of the largest sources of funds are those from insurance companies. Franchot explained that those companies appear to take their time to repaying funds, and he plans to take them to court.

"We think a lot of them are dragging their feet, so we're in settlement talks with several of them."

And by entering a few details on www.comp.state.md.us - some hidden treasures could soon be yours.

"I guarantee you as the Comptroller of the State of Maryland, that you have a better chance of getting money from this unclaimed property list then you do at winning the lottery," Franchot said.

"Think of me if in fact you do have money there."

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