5 On Your Side

5 on Your Side Helps Man Find 'Missing Money'

Posted November 7, 2007 5:31 p.m. EST
Updated November 7, 2007 6:32 p.m. EST

— As of Wednesday, the North Carolina Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division was holding about $700 million. The so-called “missing money” comes from things like forgotten bank accounts, retirement plans and final paychecks.

When companies or the government aren’t able to find the rightful owners, they are required to turn the money over to the state treasurer. A good chunk of that belongs to Craig Helmers.

His sons, 4-year-old Jack and 3-year-old Preston weren’t too concerned about money, but their college funds will get a big boost after a call from WRAL’s 5 On Your Side.

“It was a very good way to start the week. That's for sure,” Helmers said.

Five on Your Side told Helmers he had $4,862 in unclaimed cash just waiting for him to claim it. So where did the money come from?

“I'd put in a bid on a house at the courthouse a couple years ago, and someone else out bid the property, so they got the rights to the property,” Helmers recalled. “When that happens, you get your original money back that you put down with your bid and those funds kind of got lost in the shuffle.”

The ironic part of the whole thing is Helmers is a banker.

“I've been kicking myself in the pants,” Helmers said. “Yeah, quite a bit for the last week for letting that fly under the radar, no doubt about it.”

Helmers said he'll keep checking the Unclaimed Property Web site for more money.

“I don't think there's anything else out there, but I'm going to be a little more careful. Yeah, I'll check it every year,” Helmers said.

That brings the total found by 5 on Your Side to about $225,500. Click here to search the N.C. Treasurer’s Web site or call 919-508-1000.

If you find missing money for yourself, let 5 on Your Side know.