Unclaimed Property office forces man to go through extra hoops to claim his own money

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip KGO logo
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Unclaimed Property office forces man to go through extra hoops to claim his own money
After learning he had unclaimed money at the California Unclaimed Property office, one Daly City man had to jump through extra hoops to prove he was who he said he was.

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- How do you prove that you're you? It sounds like a silly question, but it's a question that baffled a Daly City man trying to retrieve his unclaimed property.

It all started with a letter Sven Anderson received telling him the state's Unclaimed Property division might have his cashier's check. Getting that check turned into quite a challenge.

Sven Anderson works on his rickety staircase that is in danger of crumbling. The construction worker is used to fixing things. He volunteers for the non-profit Rebuilding Together which offers free home repairs.

However, there was one problem he couldn't fix: his own.

His trouble started when he lost track of a cashier's check.

"I had moved a couple of times in the time period since," Anderson explained. "So it was just out there in the ether."

The state's Unclaimed Property Division sent him a letter telling him it had a check from Wells Fargo with his name on it. If it was his, he was encouraged to file a claim.

So, he did.

The check was seven years old, but the bank's records only went back five years.

Anderson's claim was denied.

"The state, by their communication, told me that Wells Fargo was unable to go ahead and document that I was the actual owner of the property," said Anderson.

He appealed and was asked to submit the original document as proof the check was his. "The unclaimed property division was asking me to provide the very cashier's check they said they had," Anderson said.

Anderson said he appealed a total of four times, and the Controller's office denied his claim each time. So he reached out to 7 On Your Side. We contacted the Controller's Office.

"The notion that 7 On Your Side was on board kind of kicked things into gear," Anderson said.

He received aletter from the controller's chief counsel, who said "the denial was in error and is hereby reversed."

In an earlier email, the counsel said: "We have been hit with numerous fraudulent claims, causing the division to give an additional layer of scrutiny to each claim."

Anderson received a check for more than $4,000.

"Not a small amount of money to anybody," he proclaimed.

There are services that offer to file your unclaimed property claim for you. Are they worth the ten percent fee? That's tomorrow on 7 On Your Side at six.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.