$109-million dollars in cash and unclaimed goods are waiting for their owners at Virginia's treasury. The vault in Richmond is piled high with all kinds of property. It ends up there after early attempts to find rightful owners fail. Tens of thousands of people across the state have something waiting for them, including more than 1,500 people from the Charlottesville area.
$109-million is enough to buy the Kluge Estate in Albemarle County at auction six times over, or send 5000 Virginia students to the University of Virginia with room and board. It's also the amount of unclaimed money and property the Virginia treasury is holding from 2011 alone.
"Every year we get in more and more unclaimed property," says the Virginia treasury's records and receipts manager, Bill Dadmun.
The multi-million dollar pot sits in state treasurer Manju Ganeriwala's Richmond office. Some of the money is the result of forgotten family ties, "Family members pass away and their heirs who were not in touch with the elderly aunt or uncle who left them all this property," says Ganeriwala.
The funds also include money for more than 50,000 Virginians who have an unexpected check from accounts turned over to the state, "It's anywhere from a penny to over a million dollars," says Dandum
"It's coming from employers unpaid or un-deposited payroll checks, it's coming from banks where people have moved away out of town and have forgotten about savings accounts, balances in savings accounts," adds Ganeriwala
More than 1000 items are still waiting to be claimed in Virginia's vaults including a trunk of silverware and jewelry with ties to the Mayflower, a $15,000 diamond ring and numerous sets of golf clubs.
There are boxes here with all sorts of papers and documents, you know coins, beautiful jewelry, it's exciting, says Ganeriwala"
More than 1,500 people in the Charlottesville area have unclaimed accounts averaging about $800 each. "People are like really? I have this money? Get out of here! And then they think it is some kind of joke on them," Ganeriwala jokes.
The treasury team prints a list of unclaimed account holders every year and has an online data base you can search yourself. "People who have received money from our program are our best word of mouth advertisers, who then go and tell their friends, colleagues and co-workers," says Ganeriwala.
Do you want to know if there's unclaimed money or property in the Virginia state treasury waiting for you? Here's a link where you can search the online database: Virginia Treasury Unclaimed Money and Property