California Legislature Spent $5 Billion of Citizens Unclaimed Money

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California has spent $4.8 billion in unclaimed money owed to citizens, conducting minimal outreach to account owners. Instead the State currently spends the money by depositing it into the States General Fund. A bill created to improve the system is being squashed by Legislature. Citizens need to be informed of money owed to them and claim what is rightfully theirs.

The Governor and Legislature are using unclaimed property to cope with the State budget mess they created through gridlock and mismanagement. This must stop

California has spent $4.8 billion in unclaimed money owed to citizens and conducts minimal outreach to account owners. Instead the State currently spends the $900 million added annually in unclaimed property by depositing it into the States General Fund. A bill created to improve the system is being squashed by Legislature. Citizens need to be informed of money owed to them and claim what is rightfully theirs.

In April 2006 State Controller, Steve Wesley, stated, “The Governor and Legislature are using unclaimed property to cope with the State budget mess they created through gridlock and mismanagement. This must stop”. Currently the state pays out about $250 million annually in found property claims with the balance deposited in the general fund and spent as State owned money.

In an attempt to better the State’s unclaimed money system, Wesley sponsored a Bill, SB 1752, removing severe restrictions on the States ability to locate owners and separate the money into its own account earning interest for the account owner. Wesley added, “I sponsored this bill to change the system and take California’s unclaimed property away from the politicians and return it to the people. Forgotten checking accounts should not be used to plug holes in the State budget.”

Since the Bill’s creation in April 2006 it has been held in committee. If the legislature adjourns at the end August without taking action the bill will be dead.

Through Wesley’s efforts the State has increased the unclaimed money returns for the last 3 years returning $292 million last year. Although there has been an increase in annual returns of found property the money balance is still growing $500 million annually after paying out claims! Minimal efforts by the State are not enough to reach the nearly 8 million unclaimed property account owners.

Private advertisement from established internet sites has added to the increase in found property claims by reaching account owners in California and nationwide.

One inefficiency in the state operated missing money database is a search in the database will only find money reported in that state. In addition, the state has limited outreach programs and no advertising budget to notify the public of the ever-growing lost money funds.

Even if a person has only lived in one state they may have money in other states databases and may be under a variation of the legal name (William Smith may be listed as Bill Smith). The government has not created a single database to search for unclaimed property.

To fill the inefficiencies of the States all-in-one quality databases have been created. Searching these databases will find all state and federal databases, all possible name variations and provide instructions/forms to submit a claim. These sites also advertise to the public informing them of the high likelihood they, or their immediate family, is owed money.

The reason the national amount of unclaimed money is growing billions year after year is the uninformed public and time consuming searching from one state database to another. The public will not know what is owed to them if they don't look. A simple search may mean a check in the mailbox.

Cashunclaimed.com is the largest unclaimed money database, including all state and federal databases. CashUnclaimed.com was founded to assist owners in easily locating and claiming their lost funds. The site offers free unclaimed property searches and more information at http://www.cashunclaimed.com.

Contact Nicole Anderson at 714-277-3040 extension 707 for an interview or any media questions.

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Nicole Anderson
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