Jimmy Patronis launches ‘Holiday Money Hunt’ to highlight $2.9B in unclaimed money, property
Jimmy Patronis celebrates another trip around the sun.

‘It’s your money. Claim it.’

There’s $2.9 billion worth of unclaimed — and free to claim — money and property in Florida, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis just launched an end-of-the-year promotion to help people get it.

One in five Floridians has unclaimed property or funds, Patronis said, and it only takes a few minutes to retrieve it.

“With the holiday season in full swing, I’m encouraging Floridians everywhere to join my ‘Holiday Money Hunt’ and search now (to) see if you or your business has unclaimed property in Florida” he said.

“During the holidays, everyone can use a little extra cash, and a little unexpected check from the state of Florida might help the holidays be a little brighter this year. Join for the fun on social media. Use the hashtag, #FloridaHoldayMoneyHunt, and spread the word.”

To see if you have available funds or property to retrieve, visit the Florida Treasure Hunt website, an extension of the Florida Department of Financial Services (FLDFS).

Once there, click the big green “Search for Unclaimed Property” button. Then just enter your name or the name of your business and, if the search yields too many results, the name of a city to narrow things down.

Click here to go to the page now.

In addition to filing claims, the site enables those who have been contacted previously about unclaimed property to seek assistance and allows users to check on the status of claims they have already filed.

There is no statute of limitations on unclaimed property and money in Florida. Account owners — or their heirs — can claim funds indefinitely and free of charge.

FLDFS describes unclaimed property as a “financial asset that is unknown or lost, or has been left inactive, unclaimed or abandoned by its owner.” Common types include refunds, credit balances, uncashed checks, life insurance benefits, stocks, bonds and safe deposit box contents.

Business or government entities hold the assets for a set period of time, typically five years. If they are unable to reestablish contact with the owner or return an asset, they must report or remit it to the FLDFS’ Division of Unclaimed Property.

According to a Monday FLDFS press release, Florida citizens have reclaimed more than $2.2 billion since former Gov. Rick Scott appointed Patronis as CFO in June 2017.

Last year, FLDFS paid out $388 million to people who claimed money from a forgotten financial account. In September of this year alone, the department returned more than $40 million to claimants.

Here’s a breakdown of unclaimed property available by region:

— Miami: $1 billion available.

— Tampa/St. Petersburg: $610 million.

— Orlando: $465 million available.

— West Palm Beach: $344 million available.

— Jacksonville: $193 million available.

— Fort Myers/Naples: $161 million available.

— Pensacola: $66 million available.

— Tallahassee: $47 million available.

— Panama City: $37 million available.

— Gainesville: $36 million available.

“It’s your money,” Patronis said. “Claim it.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

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