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Massachusetts town looking for owners of checks.

In most towns there is someone that is looking for people that owe money and looking for people who have lost money. Wayland, MA isn’t any different. Read on for some laws that the state imposes on found money.

Town Administrator Fred Turkington works to track down Wayland residents who owe taxes to the town while Treasurer Paul Keating is doing just the opposite.

Each year Treasurer Keating is required by law to try to locate people whom the town owes money, individuals and businesses who never cashed checks the town has written.

This year, Keating and his staff are searching for the intended recipients of 64 checks totaling $20,710.30. These checks were issued in 2004 or earlier.

In some cases, the recipients may have died or moved away, or the checks may have been lost, destroyed or simply forgotten.

Jim Alexander of the architectural firm Finegold, Alexander & Associates, which did design work for the town’s Public Safety Building did not know he had a claim to any money until he was tipped off by a reporter’s inquiry. Alexander had no idea the town had issued a check to his company worth $1,937.50.

By law the treasurer’s office is required to send letters of notification to all owners of abandoned checks, though Alexander claimed not to have received notification.

Under state law, the owner of a check worth less than $100 has 60 days to claim the money before it can be credited to the general treasury of the town. For checks worth more than $100, the town must publish a general notice in the newspaper, as the town did this year and in the past. The owners of those checks have one year to step forward and claim their money. Even so, Keating says if an individual can prove he is owed an old check, he will still reissue it.

The money that is not claimed is earmarked for what is called a “tailings account,” a reserve of abandoned checks. Though around $10,000 is sitting in Wayland’s tailings account, that money is not considered part of the town’s finances because the owners of that money could reappear at any time.

Unclaimed property and unclaimed cash is estimated to be in the billions of dollars range. To discover if you have lost cash go to www.CashUnclaimed.com and find out. You will know if you have unclaimed property and how to claim it, whether it is with a state or with the government.

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