Johnson County residents are responsible for $277,738 in unclaimed property being held by the Illinois State Treasurer’s office and they want to give it back.
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford was in Vienna Tuesday morning promoting an I-Cash event in which residents of Johnson County could have the Treasurer’s records searched to see if they are one of more than 2,600 Johnson County residents who own unclaimed property.
Before noon Tuesday more than 14 people had attended with more than half owning unclaimed property, said Craig Racster, a community affairs representative for the Illinois State Treasurer’s office.
Racster said it can take anywhere between six to eight weeks for claims to be completely settled before the owner takes possession of previously unclaimed property. The Treasurer’s office said some examples of property currently being held by the state includes safe deposit box contents, paid-up life insurance policies, stocks, bonds and mutual funds, unpaid wages or even money from inactive savings and checking accounts.
“The state will hold property in the name of person in perpetuity,” said Rutherford. “We’ve have been working aggressively to reunite owners with their property and that is our goal here today.”
Rutherford said once the state takes possession of unclaimed property, if it is a tangible piece the state can only physically house it for up to five years, which is following a five-year period a bank or other entity is required to hold it before the state takes possession. The state has been keeping records and reuniting owners with their property for more than 50 years.
“We helped a woman who lost track of a safety deposit box that she knew she had something valuable in,” said Racster, recalling a situation in which a property owner knew they had property that had been misplaced and relied on the program to help them recover it. “The bank had closed and she had moved away for several years, but we were able to run her name and recover it.” Inside the box was a signed Mickey Mantel card.
“People are thrilled to find out they have money just waiting for them through I-Cash,” said Rutherford in a statement released before the event. “Everyone should make an attempt to review our online database annually so they don’t miss out on money or valuable assets the state is holding for them.”
According to the release, Illinois’ Unclaimed Property Division “has more than $1.6 billion in cash, plus contents from Illinois safe deposit boxes that have been inactive for at least five years.” In 2011, more than $101 million in property was returned to people who owned the assets.
To find out more about unclaimed property and to check a claim, Rutherford encourages people to check the treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.il.gov and follow the I-Cash link.