Doral (CBS4) ―It all started with a letter Dr.Martha Hernandez-Illas wasn’t expecting.

It came from Tallahassee and informed her she had some forgotten money in a state account.

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She says “My immediate instinct is ‘oh this is fraud’. You know they want my driver’s license to get my number to do something so I was very hesitant”

So the Doral Rheumatologist showed it to her husband who checked it out.

They filled out some paperwork and a few weeks later, they got their money back.

In her case, the check was delivered by Michael Williams, with the Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property. He smiled as he told the Doral Family “I’m here to present you with a check for $1845.87 for un-cashed escrow funds”.

It turns out Florida’s unclaimed property fund has more than $400 million dollars in it from South Florida taxpayers alone.

“There are a lot of funds out there particularly in the southern part of the state. Between Miami-Dade county and Broward County there are approximately 2.5 million accounts with a value in excess of 400 million dollars”, Michael Williams explained. “The money that is turned over from unclaimed property are tracked by our office.”

Dr. Hernandez-Illas says, “it’s fantastic of course especially we’re approaching the holidays, so i’m sure we’ll definitely find something to do with the money.”

For about 20 years now, I’ve been reporting on the state’s website where anybody can check to see if they have any forgotten utility deposits, refunds, old bank accounts or old safety deposit boxes they may have forgotten about that’s now in state custody

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The best part of the program? It doesn’t cost anything to search the state’s website and file a claim, which will request private data to establish you’re entitled to any money being held in your name.

And for years, state officials have advised, before paying any private “finder fees” to anyone who says they can help you get your money back, contact the state first and get it back with no additional costs.

For more information:

Claimant Services Section: Responsible for processing and evaluating unclaimed property claims received from citizens and business entities.

Claimant Services Phone Number: (888) 258-2253 or (850) 413-5555
Claimant Services Fax Number: (850) 413-3017 (claims must be mailed or sent via courier service, cannot be faxed or emailed).
Claimant Services E-Mail:
Claimant Services Mailing Address: Post Office Box 8599, Tallahassee, FL 32314-8599

Reporting/Compliance Section: Responsible for the receipt and processing of unclaimed property reports from business entities, and for maintaining the records and database system.

Reporting/Compliance Phone Number: (850)413-5522
Reporting/Compliance Fax Number: (850)413-3018
Reporting/Compliance E-Mail:

Mailing Address for Holder Reports & Remittances: Post Office Box 6350, Tallahassee, FL 32314-6350

Mailing Address for General Correspondence: 200 East Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0358

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Asset Management Section: Responsible for the receipt, custody and disbursement of all funds, securities, and safe deposit box contents, and for monitoring and maintaining the budget and Trust Fund balances.