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Government, Politics & Issues

Naughty or nice, Missourians can tap into millions of dollars in unclaimed property

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 22, 2009 - With few shopping days left until Christmas, state Treasurer Clint Zweifel wants Missourians to know that "there are still about 3.5 million gifts worth more than $600 million waiting for those last-minute shoppers."

He's referring to the money, stocks and other valuables in unclaimed property that's now under the state's guardianship unless or until the proper owners claim them.  A few months ago, Zweifel publicly displayed some of the more valuable unclaimed items.

“During this holiday season some gifts are made of money instead of costing money.; In fact, some just require a simple search at ShowMeMoney.com and a little paper work,” Zweifel said.

“There is no better time than now to go online and see if you, your family and your friends are one in 10 Missourians who has some unclaimed property. In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever Missourians have their money returned to them.”

Since July 1, the average unclaimed property claim successfully returned has amounted to $360, he said. The treasurer's office is on pace to return 10 percent more property this fiscal year, compared to the previous one, Zweifel said.

He contended, perhaps in jest, that his Unclaimed Property list includes "52 named Santa, 66 named Donner, 40 named Dancer, 10 named Comet, 1 named Vixen and 31 named Stocking."

UPDATE: Zweifel's staff says the above list is no joke. There truly is a Santa -- 52 of them -- that have unclaimed property accounts.

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