By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Residents were able to get their hands on money they didn’t even know as theirs, thanks to state Sen. Simcha Felder, who worked with members of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s staff to hold a “Claim Your Unclaimed Funds” event at his district office.
“The number of people who showed up was absolutely surreal,” Felder (D-Midwood-Borough Park) said, describing the local residents who came to his office on Avenue J on Feb. 25 to see if New York State was holding any funds that belonged to them.
Felder and DiNapoli’s staff members were available to assist constituents in searching the state’s unclaimed funds database and help them file claims if their names were listed.
Under New York State law, banks, insurance or investment companies, utilities and other businesses are required to surrender inactive accounts to the state, which then becomes the custodian of any abandoned funds until the monies are claimed.
"There is more than $12.5 billion in lost and forgotten money waiting to be returned to the rightful owners," DiNapoli said in a statement.
“It was so gratifying for me to help facilitate the return of these unclaimed funds to their rightful owners. Many people did not think they would find any monies in their name, but were pleasantly surprised,” Felder said.
More than 700 name searches were entered into the data base and 200 claim forms were filed.
Residents said they were happy to discover they had money owed to them.
“During these economic times where every penny counts I was surprised and pleased to find out that I had unclaimed funds,” Midwood resident Solomon Seltzer said.
"Becoming separated from your money can happen to anyone. I encourage all New York residents to visit our website or call my office to see if there are any unclaimed funds accounts belonging to them," DiNapoli stated.
For more information, call Felder’s office at 718-253-2015 or the New York State Comptroller Office of Unclaimed Funds at 1-800-221-9311.