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The Star Democrat: Franchot teams with 'twin' brother to find unclaimed property

ANNAPOLIS — Comptroller Peter Franchot has teamed up with his previously unknown “twin” brother Pierre to help reunite Marylanders with their unclaimed property.

Based on the popular HGTV series “Property Brothers,” starring twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, the comptroller’s annual promotional video features Peter, a local home remodeler, and his “twin” brother, Pierre, an area real estate agent, a news release states.

In this episode of “Unclaimed Property Brothers,” the pair discovers a lost bank statement at one of their projects and attempts to find the rightful owner.

This year’s Unclaimed Property inserts, which will run in more than 30 newspapers throughout the state, lists 69,039 accounts worth more than $59 million. Individuals and businesses can also search at es/Unclaimed_Property.

The Unclaimed Property list is full of possessions and financial payoffs that banks, insurance companies and financial institutions were unable to return to their owners. Any of the property that goes unclaimed eventually is handed over to the state.

Franchot urges anyone who locates their name or that of a family member on the list to contact the office at 410-767-1700, toll-free at 1-800-782-7383 or at to find out how to reclaim their lost property.

In total, the agency has more than 1.3 million accounts worth more than $1.6 billion in its Unclaimed Property accounts, according to a release.

In fiscal year 2018, the Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 43,883 claims totaling more than $68 million. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $700 million in unclaimed property to the rightful owners.

The Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property division will help Marylanders find the items among the old bank accounts, stocks and bonds, security deposits, jewelry, insurance benefits, collectibles, valuable documents and other contents of safe deposit boxes, the release states.

Franchot appears on the cover of the 176-page insert that will appear in newspapers this month. The annual Unclaimed Property video is a complementary effort to draw attention to the campaign. In previous years, he has appeared as “Sheriff Franchot,” “Sherlock Franchot” and “The Most Interesting Man in Maryland.”

Along with the Unclaimed Property insert, which is published annually as required by law, the Comptroller’s Office searches tax records and Motor Vehicle Administration files to try and locate property owners. The agency also has a booth at the Maryland State Fair and other events throughout the year to allow people to check the Unclaimed Property database.

Financial institutions, insurance companies and corporations are required to notify the Comptroller’s Office of any property that has gone unclaimed or without activity for more than three years. This is usually wages, bank accounts, stocks or dividends, life insurance policies or from safe deposit boxes.

When the Comptroller’s Office receives physical property that isn’t monetary, the items are appraised and then auctioned off on eBay, as required by state law. The proceeds are held for the owner in perpetuity. Funds are available to be claimed at any time with no statute of limitations and in most cases are not subject to taxes. Since the eBay program started in July 2006, the Comptroller’s Office has sold 8,744 items, appraised at $2.1 million, but the items actually sold resulted in $2.4 million for owners’ accounts.

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