Ohioans find thousands of dollars in unclaimed funds - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ohioans find thousands of dollars in unclaimed funds

(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)

The state of Ohio is holding about $2.4 billion in forgotten money from millions of Ohio residents, and it’s up to each of the 4.8 million claimants to get back their funds.

RELATED: $2.4 billion in unclaimed funds belongs to thousands of Ohio residents

Cleveland 19 tried to notify as many people as we could over a span of several days. 

The missing money comes from things like bank accounts, 401ks, old payroll checks, safe deposit boxes, stocks, bonds-- basically any account of value that has typically been inactive for five years.

We headed to Cleveland’s West Side Market and ran the names of several random people working and shopping. 

One woman, Peggy Jackson, happily waited while we searched for her name on the spot, hoping that she would have some missing money of her own, especially during the holiday season.  
“It would be great to have extra money, and you work so many years and pay into it if they owe me I want it,” said Jackson. “Every little bit
Unfortunately, Jackson’s name wasn’t on the list, and neither was her husband’s. She wasn’t terribly upset, telling us even if we had found some of her money she likely would have literally paid it forward.
“It would come in handy basically to help somebody with," said Jackson. "That's mostly that I would do with it-- give it to somebody that's more in need because I didn't know I was going to get it so it would be great." 
We also ran David Gentille’s name. He’s the fourth generation to have a stand at the West Side Market, Brother’s Produce. 

He also didn’t have any missing money listed under his name, but several family members did. He said he was sure no one knew the money was out there until we told him. 

“When you said my dad, Jack, my sister Jeanette-- it just rang a bell it was pretty cool,” said Gentille. 

We also drove all over Northeast Ohio and knocked on more than 50 doors over the span of several days in an effort to locate as many people as possible and notify them that the state has some of their money. 
It was a difficult task for many reasons, including the fact that the addresses listed, in many cases, are not accurate.

We learned that addresses listed online are from whenever the funds were reported as unclaimed. That could have happened last month, it could have happened last millennium.
So long as the money isn’t claimed, the state of Ohio keeps the funds, and that list of names, forever. It’s not typically updated even if the claimants pass away.

Marlene Chukes, the deputy superintendent of Ohio’s Division of Lost Funds, said there’s a specific reason for that. 

“We will keep that money forever, so fortunately it will be here if your great-great-great-grandchildren ever find your name it will be here,” said Chukes. 

We located two women who had unclaimed funds. One declined to speak with us because she said the dollar amount was too high and she was embarrassed to have lost track of it. The other declined to talk with us because the amount of money was too small in her opinion. 
We did find Joseph Edward Fattlar, a Westlake man who is missing more than $20,000. 

“I had $20,000 in a savings and loan at work sort of set aside for buying a car sometime, set aside, forgot about it, never used it went to get it and found it was gone,” said Fattlar. 

Fattlar said he recently learned about his missing cash when he retired. He said he started the process to get it back, but didn’t make it all the way through since the account in question belonged to both him and his wife. 

“I started to do it once, and my wife had died, and I didn't have a copy of the death certificate, and I didn't get it done," said Fattlar. "I knew it was there to be able to get eventually."

With his permission, we’ve since passed Fattlar’s information on to the Division of Unclaimed Funds so they can help him recover that money and walk him through exactly what documents he needs. 
Chukes said they’re happy to help anyone do some research about potential claims to try to reunite as many people as possible with their money.

The Division has returned about $1.5 billion since 1968, but they still have $2.4 billion remaining-- a number that’s added to every year.
“I would say check every year every single year,” said Chukes. “You could have a long lost aunt Betty that passed away and your name could be on that insurance policy and she didn't tell you so your name could be on that list, so every single year we have funds reported to us.” 
You can do a free search on the state of Ohio's website to find out if you have unclaimed funds. The state's website will redirect you to missingmoney.com-- a safe third party service contracted by the state.
If you find money that you think may be yours, you'll have to provide documentation to prove it-- just having the same name isn't enough. Chukes said the type of documentation could include things like a social security number, proof of address, or, for heirs, possibly a death certificate.
Anyone with concerns or who needs further assistance can call the Division of Unclaimed Funds directly at 1-877-644-6823 (OHIO-UCF).

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