CFO Jimmy Patronis Issues Statement on Dismissal of Unclaimed Property Case
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the victory in a potential class-action lawsuit, which sought to cast the state’s unclaimed property system as an unconstitutional taking. The lawsuit alleged that the state should pay interest or other compensation to claimants in addition to any unclaimed funds claimants are entitled to under state law. Since the CFO took office in 2017, more than $2 billion has been returned in unclaimed property to Florida citizens.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “I would like to applaud Judge Hinkle for dismissing this case with prejudice, without the need for a trial. Florida’s unclaimed property program provides hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s K-12 system – and once those funds are claimed – every cent that is rightfully owed to the claimant is returned to them. If this suit were successful, it would have taken funding out of the state’s school trust fund. Supposedly, these class action suits are being shopped nationwide, threatening other unclaimed property programs, so hopefully our case can be used to fight back against class action lawyers. Our unclaimed property system is here to preserve Floridians’ future and to ensure lost or inactive assets don’t waste away. Thank you to my incredible in house legal team and Dean, Mead & Dunbar for ensuring we can continue to return every last cent in unclaimed property back to its rightful owner.”
Unclaimed Property is a financial asset that is unknown, lost, or has been left inactive, unclaimed, or abandoned by its owner. The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances, and refunds. Unclaimed property also includes contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes in financial institutions. Unclaimed property assets are held by business or government entities (holders) for a set period of time, usually five years. If the holder is unable to locate, re-establish contact with the owner and return the asset, it is reported and remitted to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed Property.
To search for unclaimed property or to claim an account, go online to www.FLTreasureHunt.gov.