5 On Your Side

5 on Your Side helps school superintendent find ‘missing' money

Posted June 17, 2008 4:52 p.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2008 6:22 p.m. EDT

— Extra cash can be hard to come by these days. That is why 5 on Your Side helps people find unclaimed money.

The cash comes from forgotten bank accounts, investments and insurance policies. If the company holding the money can't find the rightful owner, the law says they must turn it over to the state treasurer's Division of Unclaimed Property.

Among the roughly 1 million people with unclaimed money was N.C. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson. She said she was used to getting calls from journalists; however, she was a bit perplexed when 5 on Your Side left her a voice message.

“I thought ‘hmm, I haven't had any problems with anyone. This is gonna be interesting to find out the rest of the story,’” Atkinson recalled.

A search by 5 on Your Side found Atkinson had $1,350 of unclaimed money. Considering she oversees a $9 billion public education budget and that she has known about the state's unclaimed property fund for years, she said she couldn't believe that amount of cash slipped by her.

"As someone who watches over one's checkbook very carefully and watches over other people's money very carefully, I never would have thought that I had unclaimed cash,” she said.

The money was from a company she once did business with. Atkinson said she plans to donate most of the money, but spend a little on a special dinner.

“I'm also going to treat my husband to his favorite meal, king crab legs,” Atkinson said.

After learning about her missing money, Atkinson browsed the unclaimed property Web site and found out her husband had missing money too.

“I'm gonna charge him a commission,” she said about her find.

Atkinson's $1,350 brings the total amount of missing money found by 5 on Your Side to $248,440 .

To find out of you have unclaimed cash, call the Division of Unclaimed Property at 919-508-1000.

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