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Found Money: Virginia Looking for Rightful Owners

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 By John Robinson/Kevin Clay, Contact
March 27, 2008

Richmond, VA - The Commonwealth of Virginia may have free money for you, in case you lost or forgot some that was yours. Each year the state treasury goes look looking for the owners of tens of millions of dollars in unclaimed funds, but a lot of it stays with the state because the owners can't be found.

The director of the treasury's Unclaimed Property Division, Vicki Bridgeman, says up to $150 million ends up with the division each year, and most of that is never claimed.

"It could be utility deposits, there could be an uncashed payroll check, uncashed expense check, could be a bank account that you forgot about, it could be tangible like safe deposit box contents, or we could also have a stock or mutual fund in your name."

Bridgeman explains there's no catch to the offer, so people needn't be afraid to look themselves up in the database.

"They seem surprised, and a lot of them are real leery about stopping by our table or checking in, because they are concerned we're investigating for something else. We're really not doing that, we're only checking to see if you have unclaimed property."

You can search the unclaimed property database at events where the Unclaimed Properties Division sets up their booth, or you can go online at trs.virginia.gov/a>. Bridgeman says as many as one in four people who do a search finds a forgotten sum.

Community organizers say people who move frequently, or have to put down deposits for phone or utility services, are most likely to find money left behind.

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