More than $12B in unclaimed property in New York

By Matt Porter

July 18, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 12:56 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Richard Paetzold said he knew he had lost money somewhere, but said he had given up on trying to retrieve it.

Some, he said, disappeared because of a clerical error.

"The one where my middle initial was D, but they made a mistake in the stocks and they never could figure it out," Paetzold said.

With the help of Action News, Paetzold was able to recover $1,325, plus cash in stocks.

The 84-year-old grandfather of 10 is just one of the 30 million accounts in New York's Office of Unclaimed Funds run by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

DiNapoli said there's all sorts of reasons people have unclaimed funds.

"Let's say you have a utility deposit," DiNapoli said, "You're a young person it's your first apartment and you moved away and you never got your deposit back."

In Binghamton alone, there's more than $7 million unaccounted for; $15 million is owed to residents in all of Broome County.

Accounts on average range from $50 to $100, but some are much larger.

"A few years ago, believe it or not, we had an account that was valued at $4 million," DiNapoli said.

The state gave about $350 million back in 2012.

There is no cost for requesting the money back from the state.

DiNapoli said some firms call people and offer to help them file for commissions up to 15 percent.

DiNapoli said the practice is legal, but unnecessary.

"Just throw that letter away, hang up on the phone call," DiNapoli said, "Just come to the comptroller's office, we'll help get that money to you."

You can search the database online or call the comptroller's hotline at (800) 221-9311.

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