More than $300,000 waiting to be claimed by residents, companies
Citizens and companies, who have done business with the county in recent years, may have money waiting to be claimed.
There are approximately 900 claims for individuals and businesses ranging in amounts from $1 to more than $100,000. There is more than $300,000 total waiting to be claimed.
Lee County Clerk of the Courts Linda Doggett said the Clerk’s Office pays all the bills for Lee County government. That equals more than 10,000 invoices and somewhere around $850 million that is paid in checks in a year.
“There is a lot of activity. There are a lot of checks being printed and mailed out,” she said. “Because there is so many, all kinds of situations can happen.”
Doggett believes a lot of the money that has not been claimed is due to people moving, people not renewing their P.O. boxes and businesses shutting down.
“So we end up with a bunch of checks that don’t get cashed,” she said. “We have to do something with that money. We can’t keep it, it is not our money.”
The checks include such things as payments for jury service, goods or services, refunds of veterinary or ambulatory services, utility deposits and credit balances, tax deed sales, foreclosure sales and bidder refunds and recording services. The list of uncashed checks includes the Department of Transportation and Clerk of Court.
Individuals can check and see if their name is on the list by visiting www.leeclerk.org under unclaimed monies. To claim the funds an individual has to download a claim form, follow the instructions and submit it by the deadline of 5 p.m. March 27.
The claim form is pretty straight forward with some personal information, so they can verify the money is going to the correct person, she said.
“We have to have the checks for at least a year before we can turn them over to the state. We put them on the website on a list, so people can check the list at anytime. The newest one is a year old and the oldest one is almost two years old,” Doggett said of uncashed checks. “We try to do an outreach, so folks can claim the money.”
Optimistically only a fourth of the checks will get claimed, which Doggett believes is because people move out of the area and have forgotten about the check. Others have died and family members are not aware of the money.
When the money is not claimed it is sent to the State of Florida Unclaimed Property division.
“I don’t think you get all the money back,” Doggett said. “One reason to try to get it before it goes to the state.”