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May 10, 2011 > County seeks owners of unclaimed money

County seeks owners of unclaimed money

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Marina Hinestrosa

The Santa Clara County Department of Revenue has published a list of approximately 1,350 names of potential owners of nearly $545,000 in unclaimed money on deposit with the County. The money is from a variety of sources such as fines, penalty assessments, fees and restitution due to victims of crime. The list of potential claimants is at www.sccgov.org under "Hot Items."

As Santa Clara County's central collection agency, the Department of Revenue collects payment for services provided by many of the County's departments and for the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Annually, approximately 81,500 people make nearly 290,000 payments, amounting to $82M, through the Department of Revenue. The monies are distributed to the appropriate County, city and state government agencies or departments that supply the myriad of services.

Unclaimed money becomes available at the Department of Revenue for various reasons: overpayment; adjustment of charges; payment of victim restitution by a defendant when the victim has moved and a new address is unavailable; returned mail resulting in discontinuation of payments; deposits for which the recipient can find no service related charges. In some cases recipients do not want the money or do not have records to validate their acceptance of payments.

"We try to locate owners of unclaimed money via mail, phone calls and skip tracing but, in many cases, our staff is unable to reach the owners because of limited or outdated data," said Susan Ping Wong, Santa Clara County Director of Revenue Collection. "We encourage residents, who have accounts with us, to always update us when their contact information changes."

Claims should be filed by May 27, 2011. After this deadline, unclaimed money in the Victim Trust Fund will be used to fund and assist the District Attorney Victim Witness Assistance Program. Unclaimed money in the General Trust Fund will be transferred to the County General Fund and used as directed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

People who believe they may be due a refund or victim restitution payment based on the published names should contact the Department of Revenue at (408) 282-3203 to obtain a claim form. The form requires information such as the claimant's name, address, amount of claim and the grounds on which the claim is based. A valid ID must be provided when submitting the form.

For more information, visit "Hot Items" at www.sccgov.org

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