of the two key topics Rutherford spoke on was the Illinois I-Cash
program. Several years ago the state created an unclaimed property
program aimed at reuniting Illinois citizens with assets they may
have lost track of or been unaware they have.
Rutherford told the
group that in Illinois there are 17 million records of unclaimed
property. He noted that records were not necessarily individuals, as
some claimants could and do have more than one record of unclaimed
property. He told the group that in Logan County there are 9,316
such records, with a cash value of $1.5 million.
He asked if anyone in the room had been on the I-Cash website and
found money. Vic Martinek, who lives in Lincoln and works at Inland
Tool in Mount Pulaski, said that he and his wife, Denise, had found
an insurance refund from when they owned a townhouse in another
community. Martinek's employer, Mark Hughes, said he had found
approximately $2,000 in stock dividends that he had not received. He
said he has filled out the necessary paperwork and was waiting for
his money to arrive.
Rutherford said that when his predecessor was managing the
project, a total of $82,000,000 had been returned to its rightful
owners. In 2011 under Rutherford, the program returned $100 million,
and in 2012 the total increased to $129 million.
Rutherford said the reasons for the increases included increased
efforts on his part to talk about the I-Cash plan at every meeting
he attended and a staff that is working hard to also get the word
He said that as a motivator, his office had installed a large
whiteboard, and every time a significant number is reached, it is
recorded on the board, so staffers can see their progress in
reuniting Illinoisans with their assets.
In addition, Rutherford said the database for recording unclaimed
assets has been greatly improved since its inception and is updated
weekly, which he said means everyone should check the I-Cash website
on a regular basis as records are constantly changing.
Rutherford also told the group that the expense of the I-Cash
program is not on the backs of taxpayers. He said the program is
self-funded but didn't explain just how.
Also on hand at the meeting in Mount Pulaski was Frank Lesko with
Rutherford's office. He had a table and computer set up in the
corner of the room and was helping those in attendance to check and
see if they had unclaimed money.
Logan County resident Dan Wheeler actually found that he had
money coming to him, and Lesko assisted him in getting his claim
forms so that he can retrieve his cash.
In addition to speaking on the program, Rutherford also handed
out a formal news release on the subject. The text from that release
is provided below.
another record shattered in Illinois State Treasurer Dan
Rutherford's Unclaimed Property Division
Amount of cash
and assets returned in 2012 jumps by $28 million; I-Cash campaign
was driving force
SPRINGFIELD - More
money in people's wallets. That's what happened during Illinois
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's second year in office as he broke
his previous record for returning more cash and assets to owners.
The total returned in 2012 was $129 million, a 27 percent increase
over last year. "I am committed to returning as much money and other
assets to the rightful owners as possible," said Rutherford. "It is
the right thing to do for the owners, and it is putting millions of
dollars back into the Illinois economy." In 2011, Rutherford's first
year in office, the total returned was $101 million, which was a 23
percent increase over 2010.
[to top of second column]
He credits the new
name, I-Cash, and the I-Cash outreach efforts highlighting recent
claimants as a large part of the reason for the increase last year.
"Our statewide tour in July announcing I-Cash resonated with
Illinoisans and they turned to our website database in droves. That
resulted in another double-digit increase in dollars returned, which
means more people are finding and claiming assets."
several benefits to the Illinois State Treasurer's Office Unclaimed
Property Division (UPD):
Name that taps into the popularity of the iPhone, I-PASS, etc.
Website (Icash.Illinois.gov) gives more credibility as a state
government website than the previous address, which ended in
Website and materials highlight five Illinoisans who claimed
money, which puts faces on the I-Cash story
Calendar year 2011
marked the first time in the program's history that the amount of
returned assets hit the $100 million mark and that level was
surpassed in 2012. "Amounts returned in 2012 ranged anywhere from a
couple of dollars all the way up to an individual claim of $9
million," said Rutherford. "Here in Illinois, one in eight people
has something listed in the I-Cash database, and you won't know if
you've got something unless you search your name and your relatives'
The costs for
marketing and supporting the I-Cash program are not paid for with
tax dollars; instead, the program is funded through the Unclaimed
Property Trust Fund.
Most of the state's
tangible unclaimed property is held in the treasurer's vault at the
Illinois State Capitol, which was 'used to store the state's cash,
bonds and securities for more than 100 years. The vault can hold up
to 100,000 items in unclaimed property, but it is close to being at
reunite owners with their unclaimed property. UPD currently has $1.7
billion in cash, plus contents from Illinois bank safe deposit boxes
that have been abandoned for at least five years. It is common for
people to lose track of their assets when they move or when loved
ones pass away. Businesses and banks are required to turn over
unclaimed accounts to the treasurer's office. Some examples of
unclaimed property currently held by the treasurer's office include
Money from inactive savings and checking accounts
Unpaid wages or commissions
Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
Money orders and bill overpayments
Paid-up life insurance policies
Safe deposit box
To search the
I-Cash database, go to
www.Icash.Illinois.gov. The website is updated weekly to reflect
new properties remitted to the office. You can contact the Unclaimed
Property Division by calling 217-785-6998, although searches cannot
be completed by telephone, or by emailing
[By NILA SMITH]