March 11, 2014
An offer of free money is usually too good to be true, but several Charlottesville businesses learned today that money is being put back in their pockets thanks the Virginia Treasury.
“It’s the kind of phone call you can dream about that you hope someone will call and offer you lots of money,” says Jennifer Jacobs, Executive Director of AHIP.
That dream came true for five Charlottesville businesses on Tuesday, when they met with representatives from the Virginia Treasury's unclaimed property program, letting them know they were about receive thousands in unclaimed funds.
“It's not every day that someone comes knocking at your day saying hey we've got something you've lost in the past, but definitely we can use it for sure,” Sentry Electronic Vice President Greg Harvey said.
Unclaimed property is as simple as a check you forgot to cash, or funds that you never received because it was sent to the wrong address. The treasury takes hold of that money until it can return it to its rightful owner.
“A lot of people move, they don't leave forwarding addresses the data is wrong, something goes wrong along the way, they can't locate the people the check goes unaccounted for,” says Benjamin Jarvela with the Virginia Department of the Treasury
Recently the department began a proactive search through their database region by region to businesses with unclaimed property, and that database totals one and a half billion dollars.
“Given the economic climate there is a lot of benefit to coming out and pumping money into the local economy like this," says Jarvela. "Today we expect to do one and a quarter million dollars’ worth of property in the Charlottesville area,”
Sentry Electric and AHIP, whose combined funds add up to half a million dollars, say they while they initially didn't believe the offer was really, they are thrilled.
“Anything that will help us through the recession that we've been through will help us in great terms for sure,” says Harvey.
“Having access to funds like this is tremendous. It will make a huge difference for our organization,” Jacobs said.
Treasury representatives say it is like the lottery with much better odds. About one in four people in Virginia have unclaimed property.
Individuals and business can check with the Virginia Treasury to see if they have funds. The whole process is entirely free, just click on the link on the side to see if there is money awaiting for you.