For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -- Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced another record breaking year for unclaimed cash and property returns. During the 2012-13 Fiscal Year, CFO Atwater's Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned more than $212 million in unclaimed cash and property to families - an annual increase of more than $23 million from when he first took office.
Additionally, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property approved 327,313 claims, also a new annual record.
"Each year, we continue to exceed our goal of reuniting more Floridians with their unclaimed property," said CFO Atwater. "With a one-in-four chance that you or someone you know has unclaimed property, I urge everyone to check our unclaimed property website today. I am dedicated to returning every last dollar to its rightful owner and am proud of the work we have done to help carry out this goal."
During CFO Atwater's tenure, the Department of Financial Services has returned record amounts to Floridians, totaling more than $535 million since January 2011 and a record-high $24.7 million in June 2011 alone.
Since the program's inception 51 years ago, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has successfully returned $2 billion to Floridians.
The 2013 Bureau of Unclaimed Property's next statewide auction will be held Aug. 23-24 at the Fort Lauderdale Airport Hilton. The auction, which is open to the public, will include more than 80,000 individual items, including jewelry, watches and rare coins, with a minimum reserve value in excess of $650,000. Featured items include a 5.82 karat diamond ring, an 8.6 karat diamond and gold watch, four American eagle gold bullion coins, a 59-piece sterling silver flatware set and one, seven dollar 1776 continental currency note. These items were turned over to the bureau after being recovered from abandoned safe deposit boxes.
Currently, the bureau holds unclaimed property accounts valued at more than $1 billion, mostly from dormant accounts in financial institutions, insurance and utility companies, securities and trust holdings. In addition to money and securities, unclaimed property includes tangible property such as watches, jewelry, coins, currency, stamps, historical items and other miscellaneous articles from abandoned safe deposit boxes.
Unclaimed money, including earnings from the auction, is deposited into the state school fund, where, until claimed, it is used for public education. There is no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property at any time at no cost.
To find out if you have unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or (850) 413-3089.