August 8, 2005
For More Information:
Record Level of Unclaimed Property Returned
to New Jersey Residents in FY2005
- Acting Governor Richard Codey, State Treasurer John E. McCormac and
Taxation Division Director Robert K. Thompson announced today that FY2005
was another record setting year for the State's Unclaimed Property Office.
The office reported a record number of paid claims and a record number
of claimants contacted for the purpose of reuniting them with assets they
lost, overlooked or perhaps knew nothing about.
"People might be surprised that the State of New Jersey works hard to reunite them with their lost possessions, but that's exactly what we're doing, and will continue to do," said Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey. "Hopefully, next year, we'll break another record."
Treasurer McCormac noted: "Under the guidance of Assistant Division Director Steve Sylvester and UP office Chief Steve Harris, Taxation has returned more than $58 million to rightful owners, more than any year in State history," McCormac said.
Director Thompson credited the success in large part to aggressive outreach efforts by Taxation personnel in finding rightful owners faster and easier. "Our employees and managers in Unclaimed Property have been proactive and diligent in efforts to return property to its rightful owners as quickly as possible," said Thompson.
Thompson said outreach efforts include dispatching staff to public sporting events, county fairs and other venues to conduct on-site, on-demand database searches for unclaimed property. In the last fiscal year, the UP attended 23 shows throughout the state and located 24,000 missing owners through its Outreach unit.
Assistant Director Sylvester said the basic goal of the unclaimed property program is to safeguard the rights of property owners and return the unclaimed property to them, with interest.
"The law protects consumers from the loss of bank accounts, payroll checks, utility deposits and many other types of property," Sylvester said.
Following a period of dormancy, the holdings are remitted for safekeeping to Taxation's Unclaimed Property Office, which maintains the State's online searchable database for abandoned assets. For FY2005, Sylvester said the claims section returned $58.5 million to 31,896 claimants.
Office Chief Harris said FY2005 marked the second year that UP conducted public auctions for abandoned articles. The office held two auctions during the fiscal year, netting $543,000 for rightful owners. "We worked very hard to achieve these record numbers and to reunite rightful claimants or heirs with their property," said Harris. He said the office is also in the process of upgrading to a state-of-the-art computer system that will enhance the process of collecting unclaimed funds as well as returning the unclaimed funds to its rightful owner.
Jersey residents are a point and a click away from learning whether
the Unclaimed Property Office is holding items in their name for safekeeping.
The searchable database can be found at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation.