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Residents encouraged to reclaim $19M in unclaimed property

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 12:50 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 1:23 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Jim Dallke Jdallke@shawmedia.com)
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford unveils a kiosk that will reunite Illinois residents with unclaimed cash or other property Wednesday, February 20, 2013. McHenry County residents have more than $19 million of unclaimed property.

WOODSTOCK – Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford unveiled a kiosk Wednesday that aims to return money and other items belonging to Illinois residents.

The kiosk at the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office in Woodstock is part of a program called I-Cash, which has a goal of reuniting Illinoisans with unclaimed property they may have forgotten about or may not have known existed.

Some examples of unclaimed property include money from inactive bank accounts, unpaid wages or commissions, paid-up life insurance policies and safe deposit box contents. Businesses and banks are required to turn over unclaimed accounts to the treasurer’s office.

The state has more than $1.7 billion in cash that belongs to Illinois residents. In McHenry County, there are more than 100,000 residents with unclaimed cash, valued at more than $19 million.

Rutherford said one in eight Illinois residents has cash or property to be claimed through I-Cash, and the touch-screen kiosk is in place to remind people to check for themselves.

“This operates just like a computer,” Rutherford said. “It’s really more the idea that it’s here and allows people to be reminded of it and go check it out.”

Residents can search for unclaimed cash without using a kiosk by going to

www.icash.illinois.gov.

In 2011, Rutherford returned more than $100 million to state residents through I-Cash. In 2012, $129 million was returned.   

The kiosk will remain at the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office until May while Rutherford determines its effectiveness. If enough people use it, the machine could remain for an extended period of time, Rutherford said.

Michelle Trebat came to the Treasurer’s Office on Wednesday with a passport issue but decided to check whether she had any money that belonged to her. She didn’t have any unclaimed cash, but it turned out that her son was owed $10.

“Everyone should take advantage of this because you never know,” she said. “It’s kind of like the Lotto.”

Jim Heisler found four relatives who could claim between $10 and $100.

“It blows me away,” he said. “There’s just so many needs out there … just to eat, just to stay warm in the winter. The basics. It’s found money. I’m so glad I stopped by.”

There are four other kiosks across the state, located at the Illinois State Capitol, the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

The state of Illinois considers cash and property to be “unclaimed” after the items have been separated from their owner for five years. If the property belongs to a deceased person, it is awarded to their next of kin.

I-Cash is part of the Unclaimed Property Division of Illinois. The division is self-funded.

Noncash items are auctioned off when they go unclaimed after five years. The proceeds from the auction are held and go to the owner of the item.

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