June 23, 2005

Missouri Seeking Owners of Millions in Unclaimed Property

JEFFERSON CITY – State Treasurer Sarah Steelman is undertaking a campaign using local newspaper ads in an effort to help locate more than a million citizens to whom the state wants to return more than $300 million.

“The state of Missouri is currently holding more than $300 million that belongs to citizens and we are working to return this money to them,” Steelman said. “Beginning this week, we will publish in local newspapers the names of more than 100,000 citizens in a statewide effort to return this property to the rightful owners.”

The list publication will take place statewide over a period of three weeks. The names published will include those received in the last year. A full listing of everyone who has unclaimed property with the state is available at www.showmemoney.com.

There are more than 20 local residents that have unclaimed property according to the report. (See the ad on page 9.)

As Missouri Treasurer, Steelman oversees the state’s Division of Unclaimed Property. This division receives uncashed checks, insurance settlements, stock and mutual fund dividends, as well as valuables from safe deposit boxes and government checks the belonged to citizens who cannot be located.

This money is sent to the Unclaimed Property Division five years after the last contact with the owner. Once the Unclaimed Property Division receives the property, an account is established in the owner’s name and the state takes up the effort of locating that owner and returning the property.

“We are holding property in more than a million accounts, and we want to get this money back to the rightful owners,” Steelman said. “I would encourage everyone to scan the ads for their names, or the names of family members who might have property we can return.”

The Treasurer’s Office returns about $20 million each year to property owners or their heirs. Steelman stressed that there is no time limit on how long the property will be held.

“Ownership never lapses to the state and no citizen will ever have their property taken from them through the Unclaimed Property program,” Steelman said. “These accounts are held in perpetuity and can be claimed by the rightful owners or their heirs as soon as we receive it or 100 years from now.”

The publication of the names of the owners of property received this year is part of a continuing effort to return unclaimed property to owners. A full list of the owners and forms to reclaim property is available at www.showmemoney.com.

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