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CFO Atwater Announces State Unclaimed Property Auction


Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced that Florida will hold the annual unclaimed property auction on Saturday, Sept. 17, in Ponte Vedra Beach at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.  The auction, which is open to the public, will feature more than 37,000 individual items, including jewelry, watches and rare coins, with a minimum reserve value in excess of $327,000.
In the first seven months of this year, CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has paid 176,000 claims, totaling more than $134 million, including a record $24.7 million in June alone.
“I encourage all Floridians to visit to see what property they may have waiting,” said CFO Atwater.  “I am especially proud that in these tough economic times, our Bureau of Unclaimed Property has been able to return record amounts through a diligent, proactive, and business-like approach to seeking owners and responding to citizens.”
Featured auction items include gold and diamond watches, gold U.S. coins, South African Krugerrands, a Native American belt with 200 grams of silver, a vintage Leica camera, and an 11.4 carat solitaire amethyst ring with a matching 15.3 carat solitaire amethyst pendant necklace.  These items were turned over to the Bureau after being recovered from abandoned safe deposit boxes.
A free catalog, along with details about the auction, is available at Participation in the auction is open to the public, but requires registration and a refundable $100 deposit. A public preview of all items will be held Friday, Sept.16. Unclaimed money, along with earnings from the auction, is deposited into the state school fund, where it is used for public education. There is, however, no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property, or the earnings derived from their abandoned property, any time at no cost.
During Jeff Atwater’s tenure as CFO, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting owners, heirs and businesses with more than one-third of all money returned since the beginning of the program, due largely to aggressive efforts to contact owners.  The Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned $189.32 million in unclaimed property for the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year—the largest amount in state history.  Since the program’s inception 48 years ago, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property has successfully reunited owners or relatives of deceased owners with more than $2.2 billion in unclaimed property.
To look for or claim unclaimed property, visit, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or 850-413-3089.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.