CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming’s Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office cut a record 8,062 checks totaling about $5.13 million to current and former Wyoming citizens and businesses during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The number of checks issued is a 32.5 percent increase over the previous record that was set one year earlier. Wyoming State Treasurer Curt Meier said the investment into new software at the end of 2018 is one of the main reasons for the spike.
“This was our first full fiscal year utilizing the new technology,” Meier said. “We were able to operate more efficiently and, as a result, more of our citizens were able to recapture their money.”
Despite the increase in checks issued, Administrator of Unclaimed Property Jeff Robertson said the amount of money paid out during the year decreased when compared to the past couple of years.
“We were disappointed that payments didn’t increase along with the increase in approved claims,” Robertson said. “We just didn’t have as many large-value claims as we did the previous year. We had quite a few claims paying out hundreds of dollars, but the number of claims paying five or six digits was down considerably.”
Robertson said if you compare the claims paid in 2020 to 2019, there were only 74 checks that exceeded $10,000 this year. On the other hand, 143 of the checks issued in 2019 exceeded the $10,000 mark.
In 2020, the State received $9.460 million in unclaimed property while paying out $5.125 million to 8,062 recipients. For 2019, the State received $9.138 million while paying out $6.857 million to 6,084 individuals and businesses.
Property is turned over to the State when a business, agency or governmental entity owes property, typically money or stocks, to someone and for whatever reason cannot locate the owner for a specified time period.
Meier said the State is still holding approximately $91 million in unclaimed property, and it is easier than ever for individuals to claim their money.
“We encourage all citizens to go to our website at mycash.wyo.gov and see if they are entitled to any of these funds,” Meier said. “There is a two-minute video on the left side of the page that explains how to make a claim through the website.”
To make a valid claim, owners will need to provide information about themselves and may need to submit official documents. This could be as simple as a copy of a driver’s license if the property is in your name, but if you are claiming as an heir or a business additional documents may be requested. Wyoming law requires the State to hold unclaimed property in perpetuity until the rightful owner is able to claim it.