Wisconsin is sitting on more than $400 million in unclaimed property

CREATED Feb 13, 2013

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  • Video by wtmj.com


MADISON - You could be missing out on big time money that's yours for the taking. In some cases we're talking about thousands of dollars.

The state is sitting on more than $400 million in unclaimed property. All you have to do is claim it.

Wesley Stefonek spends a lot of time in a secured room digging through old safe deposit boxes and sometimes he hits the jackpot.

Like silver coins worth $14,000 dollars. Each Morgan Dollar coin is worth about $30 said Stefonek and he thinks he may have found the owner.

The Wisconsin state's Treasurer's Office gets boxes and boxes of abandoned safe deposit boxes from banks every year.

By law they are abandoned after a person misses five years of rental payments. It's the state's job to try to find the owners of unclaimed property.

"Last year we returned over $35 million," said Deputy Treasurer Scott Feldt. "We plan in the first three years to turn over $100 million back to people, to put in their pockets or businesses."

The state found the owner of a huge stack of bonds worth thousands of dollars.

"This is a surprise, it's amazing," said the Milwaukee woman who wants to remain anonymous.

TODAY'S TMJ4 was there when Stefonek returned her money. She tells TMJ4 reporter Charles Benson she was initially skeptical when the state called her, she thought it might be a scam.

But not anymore and she's grateful.

"This is, wow, will be used well. Thank you so much!"

If you think you might have some money or valuables be buried in an old bank deposit, check out the state's website to see if your name is on it.

To see if your name is on the list, click here.