Over $1 Billion In Unclaimed Property, Cash — And You May Be The Owner

Over $1 billion of valuable items and money is up for grabs — and some of it could be yours.

Inside a basement vault hidden deep in the James Monroe building in Richmond sits stacks and stacks of valuable property – including iPads, jewelry, collectibles and brand new computers.

“We’ve paid claims over two million dollars,” said Vicki Bridgeman, the director of unclaimed property for the Virginia Department of Treasury.

Right now Bridgeman oversees $1.2 billion of cash and items belonging to Virginians.  It’s just sitting and waiting to be claimed.

“Some people are skeptics, ‘Oh the government’s not trying to give me money back,’” said Bridgeman.  “Actually this is the one place that the government is trying to give you money back.”

State law requires the Commonwealth protect abandoned property and funds until the owner is found.

Sometimes that takes days, months, years…even decades…and sometimes, the payoff is massive.

Bridgeman showed 8News Senior Reporter Nate Eaton two dollar bills with red marks and hundred-dollar gold certificates.

The items and money come from several places.

Let’s say you overpay property taxes. The government sends a refund check and it’s never cashed.  The funds are sent to the treasury and stored in an account until you claim them.

Or let’s say your great-grandmother dies and leaves behind a safe deposit box. You forget and a few years pass.  Once the bank cleans the box out, the items are sent to the treasury.

“Some people are aware they had it they just forgot,” said Bridgeman.  “Most of the time they didn’t know where it was.”

Then there are items left in hospital safe and police evidence no longer needed after trial.

Many of those items are brand new – never opened – and often businesses don’t want them back. They end up at the treasury and are sold at public auction.

“Once we do sell the property we actually establish an account for that owner with those cash proceeds and we’re able to pay that back to them,” said Bridgeman.

So… how do you know if part of the $1.2 billion is yours? It’s simple and took 8News senior reporter Nate Eaton less than five minutes to find out. Simply click HERE. In less than five minutes, you could strike it rich.

If you do find some unclaimed property, please let us know.  Email ireport8@wric.com.

The treasury has received some interested items over the year – including an artificial leg.  The department sent it to a country that ended up giving it to someone in need.

Other interesting items include collectible baseball cards, jewelry, comic books, dishes, and coins.

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