Millions in Unclaimed Florida Property

Diamond necklaces, historic dollars, silver bars and various valuables–once forgotten and now snug away in a state vault in Tallahassee.

Walter Graham is head of the Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property. “If it fits in a safe deposit box, we get it.”

Every year the Bureau of Unclaimed Property receives the contents of forgotten safe deposit boxes, utility deposits and much more. “We have to identify every single item we get, we have to describe it.”

After the items are identified, the office tries to find the proper owners. If they succeed, they tell them how to claim their lost treasures. “Eventually we’ll sell these items because, as you see, we can’t continue to keep these things forever.”

But, the auction doesn’t happen for years after an item is discovered. First, banks where the property is found have three years to find the owners. If they can’t be located, the items are sent to the vault.

In the vault there are close to 100 of these black boxes which are full of items that belong to people across the state of Florida.”

Liz Tatum, the Vault Supervisor, tells NewsChannel 7 even if an item is sold, rightful owners are still entitled to the value of the item. “Our goal is to sale these items for as much as possible to give back to the owner should they come forward.”

Since the bureau opened in 1961 more than 2-billion dollars worth of property has been returned to the proper owners.

f you think you have unclaimed property you can go to F-L Treasure Hunt dot org. There will be an auction in Tampa on June 8th.

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