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Little Rock, Ark. - The Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt is underway and State Auditor Charlie Daniels hopes to track down Arkansans with abandoned cash, stocks, bonds, jewelry and other assets that were recently turned over to his office under Arkansas' Unclaimed Property Program.
Daniels said his office collected $31.1 million for fiscal year 2013, bringing the total amount of unclaimed property to $178 million, and he hopes a new e-Filing service offered by the office will enable most claimants to receive their money in days instead of weeks.
"With our new e-Filing system, it's faster and easier than it's ever been to claim your money and get a check in just a few days," said Auditor of State Charlie Daniels. "The key to getting more of this money back in the hands of the original owner is simple awareness. Remember that it is up to you to check the list of names, and you will probably be surprised at what you find."
Launched statewide March 20, e-Filing has become a popular option for people wanting to claim their money quickly or check the status of their claim online. The automated process reduces the wait time for claim payment by an estimated 77%, down from an average of 30 days to seven. Over 1,600 claimants have used the new system in the eight weeks since its launch.
The Auditor paid $8.7 million in claims last year, and Daniels says the office is on track for a record-breaking 2013. "We have already returned $10.4 million in unclaimed funds to owners across Arkansas, and expect to increase that number with the upcoming Treasure Hunt."
Twenty-five thousand new unclaimed property owners will be advertised in newspapers across the state beginning Wednesday. Arkansans can search online anytime at www.auditor.ar.gov.
Arkansas law requires businesses and government organizations to report abandoned property to the Auditor of State after the property remains unclaimed for a specified period of time, usually 1-5 years. Unclaimed property can include things like credit balances, security deposits, utility refunds, stocks, bonds, cash and even mineral royalties. Once the property is turned over to the Auditor of State, it remains in trust for the original owner or the owner's heirs to come forward and claim. Since the program's inception, the Auditor of State has returned over $100 million to original owners of unclaimed property.
Items making their way to the auditor's unclaimed property vault this year include cash, stocks, bonds, coins, jewelry, sports memorabilia, and more. For now, these remain secured in the unclaimed property vault along with countless other coins, jewelry, personal papers and other interesting and unusual abandoned items that have accumulated over the years.
Search for unclaimed property or e-File your claim by visiting www.auditor.ar.gov. For questions about the claims process, call 1-800-CLAIM-IT or send an email to email@example.com.