By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily
A Sweetwater County woman was no doubt surprised when she was notified of the pending arrival of a check for more than $582,000.
The windfall was the result of a life insurance policy that had been turned over to the state in 2020 for which the resident was listed as the beneficiary.
“Our office conducted a search for the individual and were able to connect with her spouse, who then got into contact with us to make the claim,” Jeff Robertson, administrator of Unclaimed Property Division for the Wyoming Treasurer’s Office, told Cowboy State Daily Tuesday.
The payment is just part of a record amount returned to Wyoming residents by the state treasurer’s office this year.
This year, the state paid out a record $7.423 million to current and former residents for the fiscal year ending in June, exceeding last year’s payout by $2.3 million and beating the previous record of $6.86 million seen in fiscal 2019.
In the past fiscal year, the state added $10.102 million to its unclaimed property fund, the first time more than $10 million was deposited in the fund in one year, according to a release from Wyoming State Treasurer’s Office.
Along with the big payout in Sweetwater County, a resident in Campbell County also scored big with a return of $305,778. The funds, according to Robertson, stemmed from a claim that was initially started in early 2020 but had since gone dormant. When the claim was reactivated this past February, the Unclaimed Property Division worked with the owner to get him the mineral royalties dating back to 2015.
Another sizable sum was returned to a Laramie County resident for an uncashed check for more than $159,000 tied to a property claim held by the State of Wyoming.
An additional $152,934 went to the heirs of a former Johnson County resident after a bank turned over matured CDs and savings certificates to the state in 2017. The state then hired an asset finder to track down the recipients.
In addition to these claims, 12 people received checks for $100,000 or more and another 108 received checks for more than $10,000, according to the release.
All of the individuals declined to provide their names for promotional purposes, Robertson said.
Under Wyoming law, when a business, agency or government entity owes money or securities to someone they have been unable to find, they turn those assets over to the state.
The money is put inside a special account for payment to the proper individual.
Currently, the state still has $93 million waiting to be claimed. Until that property is claimed by the owner, Wyoming law dictates that the state hold on to it in perpetuity.
Residents can search for any unclaimed property on the state treasure’s website.