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Does The State Of California Have Your Money? Here’s How To Find Out.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California businesses turn over millions of dollars of unclaimed property — from diamonds to checks to baseball cards — to the state's controller office every summer.

Controller Betty Yee says the state just got its latest batch: $770 million of assets.

In all, more than $9 billion of unclaimed items sits in a vault waiting to be found.

CapRadio Senior Producer Drew Sandsor and I headed to the controller's website to see what we could find.

“Type in my last name, first name, and middle initial. It's as easy as that,” Sandsor said.

And then, we crossed our fingers.

“Wait, I have something. That's me. Woo! 96 cents! I'm rich!” Sandsor exclaimed.

I’m owed 13 cents, as well. We'll share a cup of coffee.

Other co-workers at CapRadio ended up doing pretty well — payouts ranged from $3 to $775.

The state average payout is $534. And Controller’s Office spokesperson Nicole Winger said that, were it not for a state law that's been around for decades, people would likely never know that they had unclaimed assets.  

“This law started as a consumer protection effort because banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and others were sitting on the money and property,” Winger said. “Instead of really earnestly trying to track down the people who deserve to have it back.”

Last fiscal year, the controller found the rightful owners of $309 million worth of property.

Nadine Sebai

Former Temporary State Government Reporter

Nadine Sebai was Capital Public Radio’s temporary state government reporter. Nadine is also a co-editor of Local Matters, a weekly newsletter showcasing investigative and watchdog news stories from local publications across the country.  Read Full Bio 

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