Special to the Register
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced Wednesday that her agency has returned $1 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since she took office in 2007.
This is the largest sum of money ever returned by a Texas comptroller.
“When I took office in January 2007, I was committed to return as much unclaimed money as possible to owners who may have forgotten about it,” Combs said in a release Wednesday. “We launched extensive outreach efforts and streamlined processes to help reunite more owners with their money.”
The comptroller presented Austin firefighter Greg Reddish with $2,009.64 Wednesday, which took total payments across the landmark threshold. Approximately 1.1 million claims have been approved since 2007, totaling $1 billion over six and a half years. Unclaimed property payments began in 1962, and approximately $900.8 million was returned in the 44 years prior to Combs taking office.
The comptroller added new features in the claims process and expanded outreach efforts to increase the amount of returned money. They include:
• An automated-review process for claims up to $5,000 that matches information in online claim forms to data in the unclaimed property system in order to expedite those claims.
• Access to a dynamic public records database to help efficiently verify claimants and speed up approvals — decreasing the time to pay claims filed by original owners from 45 days to about 20 days.
• Grass roots staff that sets up at events such as expos, the Texas State Fair and events with county treasurers to help Texans find and claim their unclaimed property on the spot.
• Improvements to the “Unclaimed Property” website that make it easier for claimants to identify and submit a claim for property.
• Annual notification letters to owners of certain types of property valued $100 or more that was reported to the state in the preceding year.
• Brochures in libraries promoting the unclaimed property program website phone number.
• Unclaimed property includes forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier’s checks, dividends, mineral royalties, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe deposit box contents. Businesses turn over property to the unclaimed property program after the property they’re holding has been dormant for generally between one to five years.
“We will continue our efforts to get as much money back into the right hands,” Combs said Wednesday. “I encourage people to search our website at any time or call us to see if they have money waiting for them and start the process of getting that money back. After all, it’s your money!”
There is no statute of limitations for unclaimed property the state is holding, which means there is no time limit for owners to file a claim — they can do so at any time.
To search for unclaimed property and begin the claims process, visit the comptroller’s “Unclaimed Property” website at www.ClaimItTexas.org or call 1-800-654-FIND (3463).
Special to the Register
- Local News
Alexander found guilty of serious injury to a child
After quick deliberation by a Cooke County Jury, Johnny Earl Alexander was declared guilty Thursday afternoon for the Sept. 28, 2011 first degree felony offense of serious injury to a child that resulted in the death of four-year-old, Nathan De Alejandro.
Police investigate report of shots fired
Gainesville Police officers responded to shots fired in the 1800 block of Buck Street at 12:52 p.m. on Wednesday.
Just one game away
The Muenster boys basketball team advanced to the final round of the Class A State Tournament Thursday, pulling out a narrow 65-64 semifinals win against Grapeland at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
Club members focus on vision screening device
The Lions Club, long time pioneers in rehabilitation and education for the blind, have a new focus detailed in the recent Wednesday meeting with the introduction of a vision screening device called the Spot made by PediaVision which would be beneficial in the early detection of vision problems in children.
Cherry recognized as employee of the month
Gainesville employee of the month is Hodge Cherry, zookeeper at the Frank Buck Zoo, who was recognized at the Tuesday Gainesville City Council meeting for his volunteer assistance to fellow employees and zoo animals during the December cold and ice storm which paralyzed much of the city and transportation capabilities.
Muenster city election canceled
Muenster City Council members canceled the uncontested May 10 city election and approved an increase to the energy service agreement with Green Mountain Energy Company, according to the March 3 unofficial minutes.
Unofficial election returns by precinct
Cooke County officials released the following unofficial totals after Tuesday's primary election.
Kiwanis Club auction helps support local projects
Kiwanian Karen Estes takes phone calls during the Gainesville Kiwanis Club Radio Auction held at the Dustin Office Machine location on Sunday while Tom and Sandy Tower check off auctioned items during the successful fundraiser held each year that supports local Kiwanis community projects.
Results of Tuesday's primary election
A total of 5,451 ballots were cast during the primary election held Tuesday with 5,169 votes in the Republican primary and 282 votes in the Democratic primary.
Construction continues at Medal of Honor park
Workers install electrical conduit and water pipes at Gainesville’s Medal of Honor Park on California Street.
- More Local News Headlines
- Alexander found guilty of serious injury to a child