Treasurer Kate Marshall told the Senate Finance Committee on Monday she hopes to return twice as much unclaimed property to its rightful owners as her predecessors.
The state collects from banks and other institutions upwards of $35 million a year in unclaimed property and money. Historically, about 20 percent of that money is eventually claimed by the people it belongs to, leaving the state with a windfall profit that it now uses in part to help fund the Millennium Scholarship.
And former treasurer, now Lieutenant Governor, Brian Krolicki has his eyes on more of the money in that account to fund economic development grants.
Marshall told lawmakers Monday she has hired Jim Burke, who ran Nebraska's unclaimed property fund and averaged nearly 40 percent returned, to improve Nevada's program. But she made it clear if she is successful in reuniting more people with their unclaimed property, it will mean less in that account available for the state to spend.
She said the key is getting the word out to people that they too might have some property or cash in the unclaimed property fund. Altogether, she told the committee, there is more than $200 million on the books that residents throughout the state are owed.
To that end, Burke and Marshall presented each of the lawmakers on Senate Finance with an inch-thick, spiral bound book naming everyone in each lawmaker's district who has unclaimed property in state custody.
"This can't be my list," said Sen. Bernice Mathews, D-Sparks, holding up the book. "This is the whole state."
Burke said no, that the book she was holding is just those people in her district who have unclaimed assets in the fund. He said every lawmaker will get a copy of the list for their district.
Marshall said she has already sent a list to each county treasurer in the state of the people in their jurisdictions who are on the list - one of which included the name of the treasurer herself.
They said getting the word out will get more people interested in finding out if they are owed some money. That means advertising, public service announcements and generally encouraging people to go to the treasurer's Web site to see if they have unclaimed property with the state.
She said Burke and his staff found more than $118,000 that was owed to different state agencies in the fund and one man, she said, discovered he had $543,152 in the fund in February.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.
On the Net
To check whether you have unclaimed property in the state treasurer's account, go to the Nevada State Treasurer's Web site: