State Treasure Kate Marshall this week launched an annual campaign to return to rightful owners everything from long-forgotten security deposits and refunds from canceled subscriptions to U.S. Savings Bonds valued in the six figures.
In May, the treasurer’s office will publish in newspapers around the state the names of 66,000-plus people who have money in waiting.
For Marshall, it’s a highlight of her job.
“People are often utterly surprised and that’s a wonderful thing to surprise them in such a good way,” she said.
On Friday, she initiated “Operation Claim It,” and showed off a sampling of the more than 6,000 savings bonds her office received from financial institutions — as well as diamond rings, a gold pocket watch, silver bars, a patent for a mail slot, Elvis memorabilia, and a war bond from 1918.
The values aren’t paltry.
Of the more than $400 million in combined unclaimed property being held by her office, more than $1 million is in U.S. Savings Bonds.
“Think about it,” Marshall said. “A lot of times someone bought the savings bond for someone else, a child or grandchild. People just don’t know.”
Marshall said at least five amounts of unclaimed property worth between $138,000 and $151,000 are being claimed by Nevada residents this year, while another $632,000 is being claimed by former residents.
She recalled one woman who showed up to retrieve a safe deposit box her husband told her about just before he died. She was expecting to find $5,000.
“We opened it and it was $55,000,” Marshall said.
But other lost money is more akin to finding loose change in the couch cushions, like a $4.58 refund from a canceled subscription to TV Guide Magazine.
For the governor, Nevada is holding $500 due to Sandoval’s 2002 campaign when he ran for attorney general. The money is from Central Telephone and is listed as a refund or rebate.
Last year, the treasurer’s office returned a record $32.8 million, more than four times the previous record of $7.4 million.
Sandoval is one of the better known names to show up on Nevada’s unclaimed property list, but he’s not alone.
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who with his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, gave more than $10 million combined to a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, is due an undisclosed refund from the Nevada Department of Taxation. The value of unclaimed property isn’t revealed publicly until it is held by the state for at least two years.
Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, has $69.30 and $15.02 in unclaimed investments.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has two utility deposits or refunds being held by the state from prior campaigns — one from Southwest Gas Corp. for $55.84 in 1988 and another from Sierra Pacific Power Co. for $21.74 from 2009.
Steven Horsford, state Senate majority leader and Democratic candidate for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, has three claims posted, totaling $216.84.
Assemblyman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, has $1.00 waiting for her at the state treasurer’s office.