Thousands goes unclaimed by Government
New York State is holding 11 accounts of cash owed to Bermuda by various businesses
Friday, January 08, 2010 6:19 AM
Thousands of dollars have been left unclaimed by Government.
Refunds: New York has 11 unclaimed cheques for the Bermuda Government, nine of which are for the Department of Tourism. One extends back to 1988 when it did not get the required delivery of goods from the Hertz Corporation. * Photo by Hertz Corporation
Officials just have to call the New York State's comptroller office to start the process of getting it back.
They have revealed Bermuda's Government is owed money in 11 separate accounts.
Vanessa Lockel, deputy press secretary for the comptroller's office, would not confirm exactly how much money is owed.
But she said the minimum amount for any claim to be listed is $50, while the highest amount currently owed to anyone is $1.7 million. Of the 11 Bermuda accounts, one belongs to the college, one to Government and the other nine to the Department of Tourism.
The Bermuda College is owed cash from B&H Foto & Electronics Group for undelivered goods, while the Department of Tourism is due a refund from insurance firm Aetna Life.
Tourism is also owed money from Marriott International as outstanding cheques issued to vendors, while Government is due cash from Hertz rental cars for undelivered services.
Some accounts are from 2008 but some date as far back as 1987. While the minimum amount for a claim to be listed is $50, Ms Lockel admitted the Bermuda accounts were "definitely more" than that.
She added that in New York, businesses are required to give the state refunds when they cannot locate their owners.
The state acts as a receiver and holds on to the money until the funds are claimed. It lists all the accounts owed on its website.
Ms Lockel said: "There's no time frame to reclaim the money. Sometimes these are accounts from utility bills or stocks, sometimes it's bank accounts that are forgotten about."
She revealed New York is holding $9.9 billion in unclaimed funds in more than 23 million accounts.
Most belong to individuals and the largest amount paid recently was more than $4 million.
Other U.S. states have similar unclaimed or abandoned property departments. Ohio calls it a "treasure hunt".
California does not owe Bermuda Government any money but it has three unclaimed cheques for the Bermuda Credit Association.
Bermuda Forwarders is owed more than $100 from ACE American Insurance in Pennsylvania and bond interest from the Bank of New York.
The Bermuda Red Cross could claim money from Michigan, which was transferred from Sunrise Medical HHG Inc.
The Department of Finance would not comment on whether it will pursue getting its cash.
The Department of Tourism said: "The monies are being actively pursued."
The Bermuda Sun could not contact Bermuda College spokesperson Evelyn James-Barnett for comment.
CHECK if you are owed money at www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm.