Missing money? Attorney general's office returning big bucks

Monday, March 20, 2006



People who have moved a lot, quit a job before receiving their last paycheck or had relatives pass away, could find their names on the Indiana Unclaimed Web site.

Interest from insurance policies, money left in a closed bank account, lost tax refunds, utility deposits, court deposits, lost paychecks, forgotten about safe deposit boxes and money left in a will for someone who can't be found, are some of the types of properties that are being turned in to the attorney general's office.

After five years of no contact with the owner, accounts setting with the original company are turned over to the state. The state has 25 years to find the rightful owners to the properties.

Last year alone, Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter and his office returned more than $26 million to the rightful owners, a $5 million increase from the previous year.

"We're happy that Hoosiers are picking up their unclaimed property," Carter said Wednesday in a press conference.

Even though a portion of the assets are being claimed, an influx of new unclaimed properties are being turned over to the attorney general's office each month.

"While a record $26 million was returned in 2005, the amount of new assets turned into the state for safekeeping is three-times the amount that was paid last year," Carter said.

Carter said that almost every state has some type of program to get unclaimed assets back to residents, but he thinks Indiana is the only one that is headed by the state's attorney general.

He said there is two reasons why he enjoys being a part of the program. First, it is the public's money, they are the rightful owners and second, the unclaimed money actually has the potential of being a large enough sum to help a family out.

There is no fee to search for unclaimed properties. Go to http://www.IndianaUnclaimed.com, do a personal search and type in your name, maiden name or a deceased relative's name. After the search is complete, there may not be any matches or a list of properties may appear. If you recognize a property, start the claims process by calling 1-866-IN-CLAIM. Be sure to check the Web site every few months, because new properties are regularly added.

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