fb-pixel Skip to main content

Some big names on Mass. unclaimed money list

Belichick, Brady, and Obama top state’s rolls

President Obama, Bill Belichick, and David Ortiz all have unclaimed money in Massachusetts, according to the state treasurer’s office.Associated Press/Getty Images

We know that Tom Brady has been busy winning a Super Bowl, but now that things have slowed down, he may want to check in with the state treasurer’s office — and pick up the $266 gift card balance that is waiting for him there.

So, too, Bill Belichick. He has $300 coming from General Electric.

And Barack Obama? The treasurer’s office has been trying to contact him since 2013 to return the $312.46 refund that Comcast says is his.

Brady, Belichick, and Barack are not the only big names included in the semiannual update of some $2 billion worth of forgotten bank accounts, abandoned safe-deposit boxes, and checks marked “return to sender.” Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said Thursday that David Ortiz — yes, that David Ortiz — is owed $182 by Western Union, while the rapper Snoop Dogg has tax refunds worth more than $5,000 with his name on them.

Under state law, businesses must turn over to the treasurer’s office the balance of any customer account that remains inactive for three years if they send a letter to the last address they have on file and cannot find the owner.

Advertisement



Neglected bank accounts, stocks and dividends, insurance payouts, accidental overpayments, certain prepaid credit cards, and money owned by the deceased — all of it reverts to the state, which tries to reunite people with the assets. The contents of safe-deposit boxes are covered, too, but things like real estate and cars are not.

But how can a company not find Barack Obama?

The president — who, as one may recall from civics class, resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. — has a $312.46 refund from Comcast waiting for him at the treasurer’s office. Comcast could not say whether it sent a letter to the address in Cheverly, Md., where a Senator Barack Obama claimed to reside.

Advertisement



But the refund’s unclear origins did not stop the state treasury from contacting the president on Twitter and trying to convey claim forms to him through Governor Deval Patrick, who said in an e-mail that he did not know anything “about any forms or unclaimed money.”

“Presuming this is legitimate, the president will not be claiming it,” said a White House official.

All in all, more than 14 million pieces of unclaimed property have reverted to the state. In the past six months, more than 51,000 accounts containing stocks or at least $100 in cash were added to the master list. The numbers compel the state to advertise on buses, TV, and the radio; a complete list of claimants’ names will be published in Sunday’s Globe and in more than 30 smaller newspapers.

“Our system is packed with people,” said Chandra Allard, a spokeswoman for the treasurer’s office.

More than 600,000 people and businesses, that is. The amounts range from a penny to more than $1.3 million owed to DRS Inc., a business with a last-known address in Cambridge.

For the biggest claims, often belonging to municipal entities and companies, the state has two investigators who try to find the claimants.

For the rest of us, unclaimed property can be looked up online or by telephone at 888-344-MASS. Current and former residents can get unclaimed money after verifying their identity by providing personal information. The process takes about 12 weeks, according to the treasurer’s website, and is free.

Advertisement



Last year, the state said it returned $112 million to Massachusetts residents and businesses, up from $103 million in 2012 and more per person than any other state’s unclaimed property office, Goldberg’s office said.

Unlike Brady and Belichick, many celebrities have already been reunited with their money. Chelsea Clinton got $875 in stock proceeds back in 2001, and “Jerome Seinfeld” — Jerry, for short — claimed the $5,684 the state owed him in 2007. Neil Diamond is in the process of claiming $7,272 from the Department of Revenue.

As for President Obama, Goldberg’s office was delighted that he would not be claiming his refund.

“He doesn’t want his own money?” said Allard, the spokeswoman. “That’s great! We’ll return it to the general fund.”


Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam. Matt Viser of the Globe staff contributed to this report.