“Sheriff” Franchot Wants to Reunite Marylanders with Millions
Sheriff Franchot, a.k.a. Comptroller Peter Franchot, and his trusted steed Abacus are hitting the trail in search of the rightful owners of abandoned bank accounts, security deposits, insurance benefits, and safe deposit boxes. They’re planning stops with agency staff at local fairs and festivals this summer and fall to help reunite Marylanders with Unclaimed Property accounts worth more than $1 billion.
“I’m saddling up Abacus and we’re riding out to find Marylanders to reunite them with money owed to them,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Right now, my office has more than one million accounts worth more than $1 billion.”
Last summer, more than 4,200 people discovered and received more than $485,500 in unclaimed funds after visiting the agency’s booth at fairs and festivals. One visitor to the Maryland State Fair discovered an unexpected windfall of $13,204. There were similar occurrences at the Montgomery County Fair, where someone found $23,036, and at the 50+ Expo in Howard County, where an attendee claimed $35,186.
Each spring, a list of new accounts is published and distributed in local newspapers statewide. Taking a creative approach to raising awareness about the Unclaimed Property program, Comptroller Franchot appears on this year’s cover of the insert as Sheriff Franchot. Alongside him in a promotional video is his trusted quarter horse, Abacus, heading out throughout the state in search of Unclaimed Property recipients.
Financial institutions, insurance companies and corporations are required by law to notify the Comptroller’s Office of any property that has gone unclaimed, or without activity, for more than three years. Once reported to the agency, staff works to locate the rightful owners to match them with their property. Funds are available to be claimed at any time, with no statute of limitations.
In Fiscal Year 2015, the Comptroller's Office honored nearly 56,000 claims totaling more than $66 million. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $450 million in Unclaimed Property. To search the Unclaimed Property database online, visit www.marylandtaxes.com.
The Comptroller Office team will be at a number of local Montgomery County area locations throughout the summer, including the Montgomery County Fair in Gaithersburg from August 12 to August 20 and the Frederick County-Great Frederick Fair in Frederick from Sept. 16 to Sept. 24.
Photos courtesy Comptroller's Office.