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W.Va. distributes found money

July 20, 1999

WV refundsBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - More than 25 years after her parents opened a savings account for her, Amber Boeckman has finally gotten her piece of $65 million worth of unclaimed property in the state of West Virginia..

All $331.91 of it.

West Virginia State Treasurer John D. Perdue was in Martinsburg Tuesday afternoon to pass out checks to five local residents who discovered they were entitled to some long overdue cash.

The state treasury has spent the last two years aggressively trying to find the rightful owners of everything from forgotten savings bonds and retirement funds to stocks and estate settlements, Perdue said.

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About 85 percent of the time, the unclaimed money amounts to about $500 or less, but every so often the state finds someone who is owed as much as $100,000, Perdue said.

A Morgantown, W.Va., woman received a check for $74,000 in unclaimed money on Monday, Perdue said.

As head of a department that is usually on the receiving end of checks, Perdue said he's glad when he can find the owners of lost money.

"It's nice to be able to give some of it back," Perdue said.

Boeckman said she never would have known about her unclaimed cash if her aunt had not been surfing the Internet about six months ago.

Boeckman's name was on a list of unclaimed property, and when her aunt saw her name, she quickly gave her a call, Boeckman said.

"My parents had set up a savings account for me a long time ago and I guess they forgot about," she said.

Her sudden windfall will do nicely to purchase a new easy chair for her home, Boeckman said.

Julia and Warren Barkley of Martinsburg received a $126 check from a stock account that Warren Barkley had set up 20 years ago while working as an airplane technician in Hagerstown.

"It was quite a surprise," Julia Barkley said.

While the Barkleys were unsure how they would spend the money, Julia Barkley said she had "plenty of places for it."

While a total of five checks were earmarked for Perdue's appearance in Martinsburg on Tuesday, three of the recipients shunned the publicity and will receive their checks at home.

None of the checks were larger than about $300, Perdue said.

To date, the state has located the owners of about $11 million in unclaimed property, and Perdue said there is no time limit for claiming it.

"That's the people's money and we'll give it to them," Perdue said.

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