May 22, 2011 6:54 PM by Matt Stafford

Treasurer's Office may be holding your money

In times of budget cuts, there's one state coffer that's staying pretty full. Colorado has more than $200 million dollars in unclaimed property, and handlers say some of it may be yours.

Random, unclaimed property over the years ends up at the State Treasurer's Office.

"The state has approximately more than $200 million dollars worth of unclaimed property," says Treasurer Walker Stapleton. "It's been north of $200 million consistently for about the last five years now."

Stapleton says his office is only able to match about 10 percent of it, or $20 million dollars, to the rightful owners each year.

It's a wide range of items in the vault.

"Everything from bank accounts that were left to somebody or a loved one after somebody passed away, to insurance claims, to gift cards -- if you had a Starbucks gift card or a Borders gift card and you only used part of that gift card," says Stapleton. "Very valuable stock accounts in the six figure sums, we've got seven- and eight-karat diamond rings that have been sitting in safety deposit boxes, and we have Purple Hearts and even silver bars in our vaults."

Also, the remnants of bank accounts that haven't had activity in a while, after five years the banks have to move what's left in the accounts; sometimes it catches people off guard.

"They (the banks) must pass on the assets to the State of Colorado; we then have a five-year time period for assets, or pieces of property, with no name attached to it," says Stapleton. "After five years the state has the right to sell that asset."

That money goes into the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund, and has been used to meet budgets -- like helping fund Cover Colorado, a state run medical plan for the poor.

Many of the items ending up in the Treasurer's Office come with a name.

"If there is a name attached we have no statute of limitations that the state holds these items," says Stapleton.

It's just a matter of making the connection to see that you have unclaimed property. The Treasurer's Office set up a website so you can search The Great Colorado Payback. To search, click here.


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