Texas Comptroller Susan combs found $147 million in unclaimed property and promptly found its rightful owners, but nearly $1.8 billion remains unclaimed.
The $147 million in unclaimed property is nearly 20 percent more than was found in 2008. Combs expanded her agency's efforts to find the property owners and produced an 18 percent increase in claims filed over the previous year.
"Those efforts include searching the unclaimed property list at conventions, festivals, sporting events and other venues that attract large crowds - in addition to the longstanding exhibit at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas' Fair Park. The Comptroller has added temporary staff to process simple claims from original owners of unclaimed property, freeing veteran staff to handle complex claims. An average of 2,000 simple claims are processed each week," the comptrollers office said in a news release.
Combs said nearly 49,000 owners reclaimed $100 to $500; about 15,000 owners reclaimed $500 to $1,000; and more than 17,000 people claimed more than $1,000.
"The current balance in the state's unclaimed property fund is $2 billion, and that is far too much unclaimed money," Combs said. "That money belongs to Texans, and I know reclaiming it would make a difference to many people in these tough times. We're making every effort to let folks know about their unclaimed property and help them claim it."
Not all unclaimed property belongs to individuals and businesses. City and county governments owned $1.6 million of the money reclaimed in fiscal 2009. The Comptroller's Unclaimed Property and Local Government Assistance teams have begun a collaborative outreach effort to inform local officials about potential revenue from the unclaimed property fund.
In fiscal 2009, the Comptroller returned money to about 357 cities and 211 counties.
If you are an unclaimed property hopeful, you can search for forgotten funds at the Comptroller's annual exhibit at the Texas State Fair, or by simply searching your name or business at www.claimittexas.org.