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Cash ready for claiming

October 20, 2008|Scott J. Wilson

If you could use a little extra cash -- and, hey, who couldn't? -- ask the state of California whether it has some money you've forgotten about.

The state's unclaimed-property program has $5.1 billion, belonging to 8.2 million people and organizations, from neglected bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, insurance policies, estates and other sources.

State law requires businesses to send unclaimed funds to the state controller after there has been no customer contact for three years. In some cases, the rightful owner has moved without leaving a forwarding address. Sometimes, the owner dies and the heirs don't know about the account.

To see whether any of this money is yours, visit the program's website and enter a name. A search for "Antonio Villaraigosa," for example, turned up seven items ranging from $64 to $1,315, at least five of which appear to belong to Los Angeles' mayor. Instructions for submitting a claim are online.

-- Scott J. Wilson

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