$4.6 million in unclaimed funds due Highlands residents
By Chip Rowe
When I alerted a friend in Garrison that her name appeared in an online database of people who were owed money, and all she had to do was fill out a form online to claim it, she was skeptical.
Admittedly, it sounds like fake news. But the New York state comptroller maintains a database of checks — refunds, dividends, the balance of forgotten bank accounts, stock certificates, insurance payouts, security deposits, unused gift cards — that for whatever reason were returned to sender.
Companies are required by law to report dormant accounts to the state and, if the owner can’t be located, turn over the funds to the Comptroller. The agency maintains a public database of these “unclaimed funds” to match lost money with lost people. Its data stretches to 2006.
So far this year the comptroller has distributed $171.5 million, but $14 billion remains. That includes $1.1 million owed to Cold Spring residents and businesses, $693,000 to those in Garrison and $2.8 million to those in Beacon, for a total of about $4.6 million from 9,478 dormant accounts.
The friend and her husband found their names on 10 accounts between them. They filed claims and received checks that totaled more than $2,000 for forgotten stock dividends and utility bill payments, some dating to frequent moves in college. The total included interest paid at 2 percent annually for the first five years.
“I owe you a cup of coffee,” she wrote in an email. “That’s all I can offer because I’ve already spent the money.”
As a public service, The Current obtained a list of other residents and businesses in Cold Spring, Garrison, Nelsonville and Beacon, dead or alive, who appear in the database, which can be searched online by last name or organization.
Because the public database does not reveal how much is owed, applying for the funds can feel like playing a scratch-off lottery ticket. The amount could be a penny (although the Comptroller only pays on claims of $3.01 or more) or $1.7 million — the two extremes. (Although 53 percent of payouts are less than $100, one New Yorker in 2008 received stock worth $4 million.) If your business or name appears below, or you are the next-of-kin, visit osc.state.ny.us/ouf. You will be prompted for information to complete a form, which can be submitted online but sometimes must be mailed with further proof of identity. Call 800-221-9311 with questions.
The lists below are names on funds deposited with the Comptroller’s Office since 2006.
What to Do
Check your name and any possible variations/misspellings.
Check for name of any deceased relatives.
Check for your business name.
Go to the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Funds site to search and make a request.
Let us know in the comments what you recovered.