Florida’s unclaimed property auction in Tampa pulled in $1.95 million, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Office announced.
The auction “was a huge success, generating more than $1.95 million in auction proceeds with more than 63,000 items sold,” Patronis said in a released statement. “This is an awesome accomplishment and a testament to the hard work of our Unclaimed Property Division and everything they do on behalf of Floridians.”
Patronis said the state has held eight auctions in the last five years that generated $12.1 million.
Unclaimed property, typically an uncashed check, life insurance benefit or other financial asset, is generally held by a bank or business, often after a property owner has died and bequeathed it to an unknowing person. If a search for the true owner isn’t fruitful, the bank or business can transfer the property to the state.
Florida sells the property and uses the proceeds to help fund K-12 public schools. When a claim is made, the value of the asset is given to the owner, but the owner isn’t due any interest that could’ve accrued on the asset.
A St. Petersburg woman is suing in federal court over that issue, claiming Florida law is unconstitutional because it denies her the benefit of the interest on her unclaimed asset. A federal appeals court in Illinois overturned that state’s similar unclaimed property law and Illinois now pays out interest on unclaimed property.
In the last fiscal year that ended June 30, the state returned $388 million in unclaimed property and still has $3.5 billion.
“As your CFO, I’m proud to have returned a total of more than $1.7 billion in unclaimed property and my mission is to return every penny back to its rightful owner,” Patronis stated. “An estimated one in five Floridians has unclaimed funds just waiting to be claimed and I’m encouraging all individuals and business owners to search today for unclaimed property at FLTreasureHunt.gov.”