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Unclaimed Property

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NEWS
February 23, 1990 | Clipboard researched by April Jackson and Janice L. Jones / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Scott Brown / Los Angeles Times
In the case of an unnamed heir, unclaimed estates in California are held in custodianship for 10 years (five years if an heir is named and the estate remains unclaimed). After that, though, the funds become state monies and are transferred directly into Sacramento's coffers. Orange County has a total of 302 unclaimed estates with a total value of $1,725,374. Below is a list of the top 10 by dollar value.
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OPINION
October 9, 2010
In a rematch of their 2006 race, Democrat John Chiang, now the incumbent state controller, faces off against Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland. Voters should ask themselves whether budget-busted California would have been better off had the single-minded Strickland won last time and been responsible for issuing or withholding paychecks, keeping an eye on cash flow and auditing state functions. There are a lot of things the state should have done differently over the last four years, but choosing a different controller is not one of them; Chiang was the best choice then, and his generally good performance during the last four budget meltdowns makes him the best choice now. In a low-profile office, Chiang has done an admirable job of sharing financial data with the public and spotlighting the depth of the state's fiscal crisis.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 7, 2000 | BOB POOL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Rummaging through coat pockets, purses and automobile glove compartments, lottery players in West Los Angeles made a frantic last-minute search Thursday for a $25-million winning ticket that expired at midnight. The missing Lotto ticket was purchased at a 7-Eleven store at 11656 Wilshire Blvd. for the Jan. 8 drawing. Unclaimed for 180 days, the ticket was set to automatically expire at midnight--making it what officials said would be the largest unpaid lottery jackpot in California history.
NATIONAL
October 18, 2009 | David Cho, Cho writes for the Washington Post.
Nearly 70 years ago, the federal government began issuing hundreds of billions of dollars in savings bonds to finance the greatest war effort in the nation's history, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt buying the very first one. But the bonds came with a catch: They wouldn't be paid off for 40 years. As the decades passed after World War II, $16.7 billion worth of bond certificates were either forgotten in dusty attics or thrown out in the trash. That treasure has remained unclaimed, but a lawsuit could change that.
NEWS
September 5, 1998 | LISA WEISS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State Controller Kathleen Connell found some money she didn't know she had--funds left over from a checking account she had during her days as a student at UCLA that had languished for years in the state's Unclaimed Property Bureau. Connell was among an estimated 6.9 million individuals and businesses in California that have money or valuables they don't know about.
BUSINESS
May 17, 1991 | S. J. DIAMOND
One may see a newspaper ad--such as California's recent list of 12,261 Los Angeles residents whose unclaimed property was turned over to the state controller last year. One may get a letter from a private "investigator" demanding a finder's fee for "discovering" and claiming such assets. One could even see an ad offering instructions on how to earn $250 an hour peddling such "investigations."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 1991 | PATRICIA WARD BIEDERMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It was as if the state of California held an enormous garage sale. The controller's office raised $336,000 on Monday by auctioning valuables from thousands of safe-deposit boxes abandoned in California. A buccaneer's hoard of gold and silver coins, an "Elect Sam Yorty" button and someone's Purple Heart were among more than a thousand items sold at the Hollywood auction house of Butterfield & Butterfield.
BUSINESS
August 24, 2007 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
The state controller announced plans Thursday to overhaul the widely criticized way California has seized millions of dollars in unclaimed property left in stray bank accounts and abandoned safe deposit boxes. The program, halted by a federal judge in June, has been under attack for years from account holders and their heirs who contended that California was looting millions of dollars from their accounts to boost state coffers -- without making any real effort to first find the rightful owners.
BUSINESS
October 19, 2007 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
A federal judge Thursday cleared the way for the state to once again seize people's inactive bank accounts, stock shares and the contents of safe-deposit boxes. The order from U.S. District Court Judge William B. Shubb lifted his June 1 ruling that stopped the state from seizing "unclaimed property" whose possible owners or heirs were not being properly notified ahead of time.
NEWS
May 4, 1997 | MICHAEL G. WAGNER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Left nearly destitute by her late husband's medical bills, Annis Bolivar was cleaning houses in Bakersfield for $15 apiece when she got the good news. Fifty-two shares of stock that had stopped paying dividends long ago, and that the 66-year-old woman believed worthless, were, in fact, worth a small fortune--about $125,000.
BUSINESS
October 19, 2007 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
A federal judge Thursday cleared the way for the state to once again seize people's inactive bank accounts, stock shares and the contents of safe-deposit boxes. The order from U.S. District Court Judge William B. Shubb lifted his June 1 ruling that stopped the state from seizing "unclaimed property" whose possible owners or heirs were not being properly notified ahead of time.
BUSINESS
August 24, 2007 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
The state controller announced plans Thursday to overhaul the widely criticized way California has seized millions of dollars in unclaimed property left in stray bank accounts and abandoned safe deposit boxes. The program, halted by a federal judge in June, has been under attack for years from account holders and their heirs who contended that California was looting millions of dollars from their accounts to boost state coffers -- without making any real effort to first find the rightful owners.
BUSINESS
July 9, 2007 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
Finding unclaimed bank accounts, stock certificates and other securities is a lucrative business for a handful of private companies that contract with the state to comb the books of corporations, insurance companies and financial institutions. Since 1985, these contractors have delivered property to the state valued at $1.13 billion and earned $101.9 million in commissions, according to the California controller's office. The contractors, who earn commissions ranging from 6.8% to 10.
BUSINESS
July 9, 2007 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
Nearly 15 years ago, the state of California seized about $25,000 worth of stock that Richard Valdes had set aside and forgotten about. He's been fighting to get it back almost ever since. Valdes' stock was in an escrow account that the state declared dormant. But no one from the government tried to contact him before the shares were taken and sold. Valdes said he was effectively robbed of stock that would now be worth at least $100,000.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 27, 2005 | Evan Halper, Times Staff Writer
Millions of Californians have made hefty contributions of cash, stocks, even antique jewelry, to state coffers without knowing it. That's because lawmakers have been raiding the state's unclaimed-property cache and using the proceeds to help balance the budget. About $896 million in unclaimed property was turned over to the state for safekeeping last year under a 46-year-old program designed to protect forgotten or abandoned assets.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 9, 2004 | Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer
With proof of identity, Jesus Christ can collect a $28 check from the state of California. Mick Jagger is eligible for $919. Maria Shriver can pocket $258 in mystery loot. And Ben Affleck has a $1,598 bonanza awaiting pickup. These and other celebrities are on a list of 6 million "lost" Californians who qualify for a cut of the $3.9 billion held by the state's bureau of unclaimed property.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 9, 2004 | Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer
With proof of identity, Jesus Christ can collect a $28 check from the state of California. Mick Jagger is eligible for $919. Maria Shriver can pocket $258 in mystery loot. And Ben Affleck has a $1,598 bonanza awaiting pickup. These and other celebrities are on a list of 6 million "lost" Californians who qualify for a cut of the $3.9 billion held by the state's bureau of unclaimed property.
NEWS
October 10, 1985
The Pasadena Police Department will auction unclaimed property on Oct. 26 at 142 N. Arroyo Parkway. Items offered for sale will include bicycles, radios, tools, car stereos and clothing. Prospective bidders may inspect the merchandise from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Bidding will start at 8 a.m. Only cash will be accepted for sales, and all items will be sold as is.
NEWS
September 15, 2002 | MICHAEL LIEDTKE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
As it hunted for cash to balance this year's state budget, New York tapped into one of its fastest-growing revenue sources -- bank accounts, stocks and other assets that owners have, for one reason or another, left behind. New York's budget includes $408 million in abandoned property to be scooped up in its current fiscal year, as well as $300 million from selling unclaimed securities. None of this money technically belongs to New York.
BUSINESS
March 21, 2002 | KATHY M. KRISTOF, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State lawmakers are scrambling to fix an "amnesty" bill that's on a fast-track through the Assembly, in hopes of plugging a loophole that could let some companies that have been caught violating the state's unclaimed-property laws avoid millions of dollars in fines.
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