CHARLESTON – Kanawha County, the state’s most populous, led the state in unclaimed property returned for fiscal year 2014. Residents there received a cumulative $1.2 million in claims.
Unclaimed property is any asset from which an individual has been separated, such as forgotten utility deposits or abandoned safe deposit box contents. By law, the holder of the property – such as a bank -- is obligated to report the asset to State Treasurer John Perdue’s office.
“Every day we attempt to find the rightful owners of unclaimed property and verify identity,” Perdue said. “We take that mission very seriously, whether it’s trying to find rightful owners in Wirt County (pop. 5,839) or Kanawha (pop. 191,000).”
Monongalia County is the state’s third-largest at just more than 100,000 residents. It placed second in unclaimed property returned, at $354,000. Small, Northern Panhandle Hancock received a notable $221,000 in claims, with one large claim possibly accounting for the amount.
Counties which received more than $100,000 in unclaimed property returned for fiscal 2014:
- Kanawha -- $1.2 million
- Monongalia -- $354,000
- Hancock -- $221,000
- Wood -- $218,000
- Cabell -- $178,000
- Berkeley -- $150,000
- Putnam -- $146,000
- Raleigh -- $125,000
- Ohio -- $123,000
- Mercer -- $102,000
- Harrison -- $101,000
In fiscal 2014, Treasurer Perdue’s office returned approximately $7 million in unclaimed property -- some $4.2 to state residents and the rest to those who had lost property in West Virginia but moved to another state. In that case, the state of last address is the one which issues the unclaimed property check.
The Treasurer’s Office has returned $47 million to owners during the last five years.