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Unclaimed Treasure

September 17th, 2009 by flanews

The economic downturn has Floridians searching for treasure. The state has millions of dollars worth of unclaimed silver, gold, jewels and other property locked away in Tallahassee. As Whitney Ray tells us, peoples interest in the forgotten treasure has increased as the economy has soured.

Whether its solid gold, really old, or just never sold, chances are it belongs to someone who may not know it exists. The state has more than a billion dollars worth of unclaimed cash and property locked away in this vault, that someone has forgotten about.

The bank holds the contents for three years, by the time we get them and process them, thats another two, two and a half years, so it takes us that long to try and find the owner, said Tom Egler with the Bureau of Unclaimed Property.

Often times the property is never claimed and the state if forced to auction off the goods to create more space in the vault. But better promotional efforts and a souring economy have inspired more and more people to see if they have missing treasure.

All you need is a computer to see if you have unclaimed property. Go to www.fltreasurehunt.org. Click on the search unclaimed property button. And type in your name.

In March, 20 million dollars worth of cash and property were claimed: the most ever in a single month. Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Bureau of Unclaimed Property and says making a claim is pretty easy.

Well send communications out to people who we think they are the rightful owners of the property and if they are able to prove they owe the property its a simple matter of getting a check in their hands, said Sink.

Cash, checks, and bonds are the most common claims. Last year the bureau paid out 173 million dollars. The state will hold an auction on October 24rd In Fort Lauderdale to sell property thats been unclaimed for too long. Money from the auction will go into the education trust fund, but even if your property is sold you can still make a monetary claim.

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