By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times
Lynn Fitch, Mississippi’s new state treasurer, is on a mission to put unclaimed property back in the pockets of taxpayers. A press release form the state treasurer’s office states that one in five Mississippians have unclaimed assets in the form of forgotten banks accounts, uncashed checks, security deposits, utility refunds, estates, escrow accounts and lost refunds. The Unclaimed Property Division of the office of the state treasurer requires corporations, businesses, financial institutions, and insurance companies to report and send unclaimed money and property after at least five years of no contact with the customer. Keeping her campaign promise, Fitch returned more than $3 million found in the Unclaimed Property Division during her first 45 days in office and has identified and returned more than $6 millions since January. The funds given back have been small claims just under $100 to $300, while there have also been larger claims as much as $190,000 to 278,279. Fitch traveled to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to return nearly $30,000 in unclaimed property. Many times property owners forget about existing accounts or neglect to leave a forwarding address and the forwarding order expires. In addition, often heirs of deceased unclaimed property owners have no knowledge that the property is there waiting to be claimed. After a brief search, it is evident that many residents of Webster County have or are heirs to unclaimed property. One cause for the high amount of unclaimed property owners in the county is the 911 physical address changes that were enacted January 2008. All residents changed to their new 911 physical address; however, not everyone left forwarding addresses for the Postal Service. Post offices can only forward mail for a limited amount of time without residents filing a change of address. After the forwarding order expires, the mail is returned to the sender. With this in mind, all residents should check the list of unclaimed property owners by going to www.treasury.ms.gov/unclaimed or by calling Unclaimed Property Call Center at 601-359-3534. Local List These are some of the many local results after a quick search; of which some of the assets may have since been claimed after their posting on the website: Allene W. Hester, P.O. Box 209 Mathiston, over $100; William Lee Bagwell Rt. 3, Eupora, over $100; Lee Bailey P.O. Box 108 Eupora, under $100; Lee P. Bailey RR 1, Box 108, Eupora, over $100; Allan Ballard Spring Valley RD, P.O. Box 155, Mathiston, under $100; Marcus Brantley, 711 MLK DR, Eupora, over $100; Paula Renea Crimm, RR 3, Box 251, Eupora, under $100; Webster County School District, 212 W. Clark Ave. under $100; Webster City Chancery Clerk, P.O. Box 398, Walthall, over $100 (three separate listings); Webster General Hospital, 500 Hwy. 9 S. Eupora, over $100 (two listings); Webster Health Services Inc. P.O. Box G, Eupora, over $100 (two listings); Webster Health Services Inc. 500 Hwy 9 S., under $100; Webster Health Services Inc. 405 MLK DR, Eupora, over $100; Webster Health Services Inc. 201 Industrial Park RD, Eupora, over $100; Webster Health Services Inc. RR 3, Box 84, Eupora, over $100; Church of God of Eupora, P.O. Box 708, Eupora, under $100; Charles Stewart, P.O. Box 333, Walthall, over $100 (two listings); Charles Stewart Jr., P.O. Box 333, Walthall, over $100; Stewart’s Body Shop Inc., RR 3, Box 798, Eupora; over $100; Maben Cleaners, Maben, under $100; Barbara Edwards, 6101 Bluff Springs RD, Eupora, over $100; Larry Eubanks Rt. 2, Box 243, Eupora, over $100; Joel Fulgham, Rt. 2, Box 378, Mathiston, under $100; Timothy G. Fulgham, RR 2, Box 67, Eupora, over $100; Linda B. Hood, P.O. Box 784, Eupora; over $100; Kinkish V. Jones, Rt. 2, Box 1090, Maben, over $100; Aubrey Kilgore, Rt. 1, Box 10, Mantee, under $100; Jeff Richard Medders or Jeff Anthony Medders, Rt. 3, Box 290, Eupora, under $100; James Patterson, 109 Gould Ave., Eupora, over $100; Tamara Watson, 673 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Eupora. under $100; Marvin H. Crowley, 2167 Harpole RD, Maben, over $100 (two listings); Amy Oswalt and Samuel T. Oswalt, 4740 Hester RD, Mathiston, under $100; and Sammy T. Oswalt, RR 2, Box 207A, Mathiston, over $100.