It's a staggering amount of money: $344 million being held by the state treasurer's office, just waiting to be claimed.
Tens of millions belong to viewers right here around Wilmington. WECT is teaming up with the treasurer to track down a few of them in person to share the good news. Treasurer Janet Cowell says this is one of her favorite parts about her job.
The biggest single sum of cash we found for anyone in the Wilmington area totaled $67,000. 23 years after John Cotton died, New Hanover County resident Marie North is learning about a life insurance policy she never knew her father had.
"$67,000?! Good grief you are kidding," she said when we showed up at her front door to tell her about the unclaimed cash.
So where does all this money come from?
"It could just be a pay check or a deposit that you've put somewhere. A small life insurance benefit, generally under $1,000 that just got lost in the shuffle," explained Cowell. "We've had some claimants who are like, ‘I'm embarrassed. Because how could you lose track of this much money?'"
But even after we told the people on our list - we found some people were reluctant to believe the good news, afraid it was some kind of scam. It took a little convincing on our part, and a personal check delivery from the state treasurer, but we were eventually able to reunite many residents with their long lost cash.
"This is just an awesome surprise. It will definitely help us. In fact, we might just take a trip!" North told us about what she would do with the windfall for her and her siblings.
This Wednesday at 5, 5:30 and 6, WECT is hosting a live Cash-A-Thon. The state treasurer and staffers from her office will be here live, answering the phones to tell you exactly how much money you may be owed, and start the claims process on the spot.
Don't forget to tune in, and call (910) 386-5540(910) 386-5540 when the phone lines go live.
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