Treasurer reports record return of unclaimed property in Illinois

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois treasurer’s office on Wednesday announced it has returned a billion dollars of unclaimed property to rightful owners or their survivors in the past five years.

Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Wednesday said the amount set a record for any five-year period in the 58 years his office has made the returning of property in state custody to owners a priority.

The property targeted for return can include inactive back accounts, unpaid insurance benefits, or the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes.

Frerichs’ office said among the unclaimed property passed on to rightful owners was $19,000 from The (Richard) Pryor Foundation for the Carver Community Center in Peoria the late comedian spent time at as a youth. There was also the $2 million left to various Chicago-area charities by a World War II Army veteran who never married. All of the veteran’s relatives died before him, leaving the money unnoticed in an investment account.

Frerichs says the increased reuniting of unclaimed property with rightful owners is due to a more streamlined process. He says before a change in the process, people sometimes became so frustrated they gave up.

There is still about $3.5 billion in unclaimed property in the treasurer’s office, officials said.

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