Hank Investigates: Municipal Money

BRAINTREE, MASS. (WHDH) - Meghan’s a busy Braintree mom and we found her a financial windfall: 500 dollars!

Meghan: “It’s awesome, yeah!”

And there may be money for you too!

We found Meghan and thousands of other names on these lists we obtained from city and town treasuries across Massachusetts. All have money coming to them and may not know it!

It’s uncashed checks and excise or property tax refunds.

Search for Unclaimed Property

Megan: “I’m just grateful that you contacted me.”

To make sure that “abandoned money” gets to its rightful owners, state law says communities can either turn it over to the State Treasurer’s Office, which publishes these lists of names in the newspaper every year, or they can notify people by first class mail or a website posting and then get the names published in a newspaper.

But our investigation found some communities simply aren’t doing that. The money’s there, but the recipients have no idea!

Mark William Bracken, J.D. Assistant Treasurer, Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office: “It’s not the city and town’s money. It really belongs to someone else.”

The result? Meghan and all these others are out big bucks. Like this Braintree list.

Hank: “This is $93,000.”
Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan: “Right.”

We found the town hasn’t published a list in the newspaper for years.

Hank: “How are they supposed to know they have this money if you don’t tell them?”
Mayor Sullivan: “You know, I recognize that, I’m disappointed you know, we could have done better.“

In Haverhill there’s $123,000, the city hasn’t touched it in four years.

In Everett there’s $288,000, but the city hasn’t advertised that in the paper.

In Weston, there’s $92,000, and officials “just started” advertising; their list shows some unclaimed checks date back to the 70s!

Hank: “If a city or town doesn’t follow the law, how are people supposed to know they have money coming to them?”

Mark Bracken: “They’re never gonna know.”

But after our calls, some things will change.

Everett put their list on their website now, and told us “Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.”

Haverhill told us, “It’s certainly something we should be doing, and we are working on it.”

And Braintree’s mayor says they’ll also put the list on their website and start advertising in the paper.

Mayor Sullivan: “We should have done a better job and we will do a better job.”

Does your community follow the unclaimed cash rules? Even if it doesn’t, there still may be money for you. So call your city or town treasurer’s office. You could get some good news.
Or click the link below to begin your search on the official website of the Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts.

Search for Unclaimed Property

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