Comptroller works to return forgotten money

Mar 17, 2017

The state treasury has  $14.5 billion of someone else's money, potentially your money. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is trying to give it back.

State officials were in City Hall Thursday to inform citizens of money that may be owed to them.
Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

"We are here today to talk money, big money," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, referring to DiNapoli aides who were running computer terminals Thursday in the City Hall lobby. Under long-time laws, money left sitting in dormant accounts is claimed by the state. It is refundable, though not all attempt to recover it.According to DiNapoli, one account contains nearly $2 million that has been unclaimed for years.

Still, in the last year $452 million has been returned to their rightful owners, while another $741 million came in.

"We are now returning about $1.5 million a day to New Yorkers and that money has gotten higher and we want to continue to increase that money," DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli's people were in the lobby because you can go on line and look for your money and don't have to hire and pay someone to look.

Among those standing in line was Buffalo Zoo President and C-E-O Donna Fernandes, who discovered she was owed $2,300 in a dormant account of the Zoo.

DiNapoli also pointed to companies which claim to be able to recover the funding at a small fee.

"The businesses that do this are called 'finders.' They're legal. They can charge up to 15 percent as a fee to get the money from out Unclaimed Funds Unit," DiNapoli explained.

"But, if you get a call, if you get a letter like that, ignore it. You are entitled to 100  percent of this money. There is no fee. There is no charge."