I-Team 10: NYS unclaimed funds

Posted at: 07/24/2013 5:54 PM
Updated at: 07/24/2013 6:25 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

New York State says it's sitting on $12 billion in unclaimed money and some of it could be yours.

It's easy to find, you just search for your name on a website. But as I-Team 10 is finding out, it can be difficult to actually get.

One family says they're just trying to get possession of their late mother's stock. They say the bank told them it was abandoned and transferred it to New York's unclaimed funds. Unclaimed funds says they don't have it. But now four years later, no one can tell them where the money is.  So they came to I-Team 10 for help.

Four years ago, Adrienne and Lauren Giebel say they were contacted by a bank to say their late mother's stock was transferred to New York's Office of Unclaimed Funds. They showed I-Team 10 the document they got in April which says their mother's shares were transferred to the state in June 2009. But they also have a letter from the state from late last year which says it still hasn't completed it's "verification process."

Adrienne Giebel said, “Each entity, the New York State Unclaimed Funds and Mellon Bank, claims the other has it. So if the one doesn't have it and the other doesn't have it, who has it?”

Lauren Giebel said, “I don't know where it is. Everyone says the other one has it. So either everyone has it or no one has it, but we don't have it.”

For Janine Darby's family, they know where the funds are. They found their name on the state's website. She's trying to get money owed to her father-in-law. She just can't believe how many documents she had to file and notarize to claim it.

Darby said, “I'm fulfilling what I'm asking for and yet we still keep coming up against a brick wall and it's like the man is 88. I'd like to see him get his money.”

The Giebel sisters want to get their money too. They didn't think it would be this difficult.

Adrienne Giebel said, “It always seems like, 'oh just contact unclaimed funds and you can get your money so easily'. And no, that's not the case.”

Since I-Team 10 started digging into this story, we learned that the Darby family's claim was approved. In fact, the money was mailed out Wednesday. It's much more complicated for the Giebel sisters. The state says it paid them money from a dividend on the shares in 2011. The state said it got the dividend money, not the shares. It's a complicated situation. I-Team 10 directed the Giebel sisters to contact their state assemblymen for help.

If you want to check to see if you have money in unclaimed funds, click here.