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Chief Financial Officer Reminds Floridians to Search for Lost Property


CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Following a special Inside Edition profile on state programs devoted to safeguarding and returning lost, abandoned or unclaimed property, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher urged Floridians to find out if the state is holding any valuables belonging to them. The program aired last night nationwide.

"In 2002, Florida collected nearly $149 million and set a new record by returning $73 million back to the rightful owners," said Gallagher.

The majority of cash deposits held by the state comes from abandoned bank accounts in Florida banks and credit unions. In addition, cash holdings may come from utility deposits, insurance refunds, stock payments and uncashed paychecks. Unclaimed items of value, such as jewelry, coin collections and antiques, are held by financial institutions for three years, after which they are turned over to the state and sold at auction. The proceeds from the sale are held indefinitely until the owner is found and collects the amount.

At last year's auction, held in October, more than 7,000 unclaimed items were sold for more than $460,000. The highest valued item was a 6.7 carat diamond ring that was auctioned for $20,000. The program's current holdings total more than $884 million, and the amount rises each year.

Money turned over to the state and money collected from auctioning valuable items are deposited into the State School Trust Fund, a trust fund managed by the Department of Education and benefiting Florida's schools, where they are available for Floridians to claim at any time.

To find out if cash or property is being held by the state for you, or if you are an heir to unclaimed property, log on to the Department of Financial Services' new website at Click on the link to "Unclaimed Property" and enter as much information as you can into our easy-to-use claim form. Floridians may also call our toll-free number at 1-88-VALUABLE.