The New York state comptroller found more than $445 million in unclaimed funds in the Bronx, according to a recent announcement by the office.
The money was revealed after the comptroller released a Nov. 28 report that detailed economic conditions in the borough — including the business “revitalization” of the South Bronx despite disproportionate COVID-19 pandemic challenges.
According to Matthew Sweeney, the deputy director of communications for the office — the State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found $445.3 million in unclaimed funds boroughwide, spanning more than 644,000 separate accounts. Those accounts include each unclaimed amount with addresses in the Bronx.
“For example, if an individual moved without forwarding mail to their new address and they missed out on a paycheck, a health insurance reimbursement, and had a registered gift card that still had money on it, there would be three separate accounts in their name at their old address,” Sweeney said.
There are more than 1,000 accounts either with Bronx addresses or business titles that are missing money, according to search results from the state comptroller’s website — from auto shops and churches to medical centers and schools. The office has already reimbursed the Bronx Museum in the amount of $2,190, as well as the Bronx Chamber of Commerce for $543.
The Bronx ranks fourth across all New York City boroughs for the highest amount of missing money, following Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens — which have around $2 billion, $1 billion and $878 million in unclaimed funds, respectively. Staten Island sits a distant fifth with just more than $120 million in missing funds. Sweeney said statewide, unclaimed funds date all the way back to the 1940s.
Sweeney said the comptroller’s office is encouraging all account holders to get their bag.
“Comptroller DiNapoli and his staff work hard to promote unclaimed funds and encourage people to search the database for themselves, family, friends and organizations,” he said. “Once the claim is submitted and verified the office sends out a check.”
It’s a bit of deja vu to when the Bronx Economic Development Corporation President Rob Walsh launched a $10 million business loan program this summer with unspent federal empowerment zone money from three decades ago. The New York Empowerment Zone is one of nine established by President Bill Clinton’s administration in 1994 to provide investment funds and tax incentives for businesses to open, expand and hire local residents. That $10 million program was administered through the federal Small Business Administration’s Community Advantage Loan Program.
Claiming lost money through the state comptroller’s office is free of charge. Sweeney said there are companies that charge a fee for helping to access unclaimed funds, but claiming through those outside entities is “not necessary.”
Account holders can find out whether or not they’re entitled to missing money at the office’s search for lost money webpage, and they can claim their missing funds at the submit claim documents webpage.
Reach Camille Botello at [email protected]. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes