PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Abandoned bank accounts, forgotten stocks, uncashed checks. Each year, state treasuries across the country receive millions of dollars in unclaimed property. They hold it for safe keeping until the rightful owners can be found.

But when one family tried to claim money owed to their mother, it was easier said than done. That was until CBS 3’s Jim Donovan got involved and was on their side.

In Pennsylvania, the treasury is holding 1 and half billion dollars in unclaimed property!

Little did Rosemary Mayer know that her 87-year-old mother Helen Clatterbaugh was among the owners.

Rosemary says, “It was related to an insurance claim, it was a payoff check that got lost.”

It was over $900 dating back to 1985! Rosemary says that her mother never got the money due to a misprint in her address and that the family learned only learned about the money after they did a random online search.

A claim was filed to get the money, but there was a problem. The original insurance check was made out to both Helen and Central Penn, the bank that held her car loan at the time. The state treasury couldn’t release the funds until the bank waived their rights to the money and Central Penn doesn’t exist anymore!

Rosemary says, “The banks kept getting turned over, so it got lost in transition.”

Helen adds, “Everything has been changed since and it’s hard to keep up with that stuff.”

You can say that again. You see Central Penn became Meridian, which became Core States, which became First Union, which became Wachovia, and is now Wells Fargo.

Rosemary says, “There is no who to speak to specifically in mergers and acquisitions to correct these types of problems.”

After the family contacted 3-On Your Side, we reached out to Wells Fargo, the last bank in the chain for help. Wells Fargo provided the family with documentation that allowed the state to release the funds.

Rosemary says, “Through your help, you know in connecting the dots, the money couldn’t be realized.”

Making it another 3 On Your Side problem solved.

When it comes to unclaimed money associated with banks, this a perfect example of why you should occasionally check to see if you’re owed money too. One of the best sites to use is The site allows you to check dozens of state treasuries in one place. Just type in your name and the state you want to check, and the results pop up.


Reported By: Jim Donovan

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