Unclaimed Treasures are Still Up For Grabs, the ‘Treasure Map’ is Coming to a Fair Near You

-Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property Staff Appear at Festivals Throughout Maryland-

Annapolis, MD (July 2, 2012)

Comptroller “Indiana” Franchot is making it easy for Marylanders to join him on his continuing adventure to return lost property. Staff from the agency’s unclaimed property unit will travel the state to fairs and festivals all summer long, into early fall, to help reunite Marylanders with lost treasure.

“While Marylanders are out enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the midway this summer, I want to encourage them to also stop by my unclaimed property booth to see if they have any unclaimed property,” said the Comptroller, “Since April 2011, my agency has accumulated nearly $51 million in brand new accounts. The total amount of accounts is staggering, at 970,000 accounts, worth more than $985 million. It’s my agency’s priority to return that property to its rightful owners.”

The unclaimed property unit of the Comptroller’s Office is the guardian of bank accounts, contents of safe deposit boxes, security deposits, wages and insurance benefits and proceeds that have been unclaimed for more than three years. Property, such as parcels of land or homes, is not included.

By law, financial institutions, insurance companies, utilities and other companies are required to notify the Comptroller of any property that has gone unclaimed, or without activity, for more than three years. Once the Comptroller’s Office is notified, they try to locate the rightful owners to match them with their property. Even though the Comptroller is the guardian of the property, the items continue to belong to the owners or their rightful heirs and are available to be claimed at any time. There is no deadline on when the owners can collect their funds.

The agency’s complete list of accounts is always available, for free, online at www.marylandtaxes.com or www.missingmoney.com.

Some items held by the Comptroller’s Office are eligible for auction on eBay to obtain the best return in value for the rightful owners. The auction program has been in place for six years and nearly 6,100 items have been sold, totaling more than $1.2 million. These items can be viewed and bid on by clicking the eBay icon at www.marylandtaxes.com.

Last year, the agency visited eight community events around the state and returned nearly $461,000 to grateful owners. “At last year’s Maryland State Fair, one lucky individual walked away with $71,516 in unclaimed property. So it’s not just a few dollars we’re talking about, it can really be a significant amount,” says the Comptroller.

In addition to visiting various events, the agency makes use of several avenues to reach out to Marylanders throughout the year including a newspaper insert, matching files with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) records. The state of Maryland does not charge a fee for returning your property.

The Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 50,000 claims totaling more than $43.6 million for fiscal year 2011, which ended on June 30, 2011. More than $240 million has been returned to nearly 240,000 owners since January 2007.

LIST OF UPCOMING FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

African American Festival
July 7 & 8
Maryland State Fair
August 24 – September 3
The Great Frederick Fair
September 14 – 22
Allegany County Fair
July 14 – 21
Prince George’s County Fair
September 6 – 9
Senior Expo
October 10 & 11
Montgomery County Fair
August 10 – 18
Anne Arundel County Fair
September 12 – 16
50+ Expo
October 19

MEDIA CONTACT: Kim Frum, (410) 260-7210 (office), (443) 949-1583 (cell)