The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 10, 2014

Iowa checks worth nearly $7 million go uncashed

DES MOINES — Nearly $7 million worth of checks issued by the state of Iowa have gone uncashed in the last 19 months, and it’s not easy to find out if any of that money is yours.

The Des Moines Register published Sunday an online database of 45,197 unclaimed checks for income tax refunds, contract work and a variety of other things. More than 96 percent of the checks come from human services, revenue and transportation departments.

The average check in the database is $153. Some of the largest uncashed checks belong to businesses like Qwest Corp., now known as CenturyLink, for $188,429, and aluminum producer Alcoa for $123,908.

Officials say the money isn’t supposed to stay in the state’s accounts and the checks are considered outdated when uncashed for six months. But, officials said, if there isn’t a request for the check to be issued within five years, Iowa banks the bucks.

Farmer Dan Kregel says finding out his 2012 state income tax refund of $16,525 was never deposited was easy money. Now, he just has to wait six weeks for a new check.

Technical problems have kept the state from including its own unclaimed checks in the “Treasure Hunt” database on the state treasurer’s website, but officials hope to fix that later this year.

Outdated checks and unclaimed wages are already part of the “Treasure Hunt” database, but unless someone found the check or knew who to talk to, they wouldn’t have known Iowa was holding their money, said deputy treasurer Stefanie Devin.

“It’s the reason we want to get that information on our website,” Devin said. “You would be amazed if you knew how much people forget and just lose track.”

Iowa Department of Revenue deputy director Stu Vos said linking the checks to the “Treasure Hunt” will make them visible and easier for Iowa residents to find and collect what they’re owed.

“We want people to get their money because, by golly, they deserve it,” he said.

St. Charles resident Timothy Sauvage thinks his $12,619 income tax refund from 2012 was sent back to the state because his mailbox was vandalized. He said he was surprised his accountants for his recently sold business didn’t discover that the refund hadn’t been deposited.

“It can certainly fall through the cracks, but at the same time, in this age of computers, you wouldn’t think that would happen,” he told the newspaper.

 

1
Text Only
Top News
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

    The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

    April 17, 2014

  • Defend 'Obamacare' unabashedly, some Democrats say

    With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

    Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace "Obamacare," the GOP's favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search for Chicago site for George Lucas museum

    As Yoda might say: A site for a museum you must find.

    Those are the marching orders Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving a dozen civic leaders as the city searches for a potential location for an interactive museum to house filmmaker George Lucas' collection of art and filmmaking memorabilia.

    April 17, 2014

  • Illinois unemployment drops to 5-year-low

    State officials say unemployment in Illinois dropped in March to 8.4 percent. That's its lowest level since 2009.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gaming commission rejects Cedar Rapids casino

    The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission rejected a proposed $164 million Cedar Rapids casino Thursday, saying it would hurt existing casinos.

    Supporters of the Cedar Crossing Casino development have said it would give an economic boost to Cedar Rapids and the region. They also argued it would be a catalyst for development in an area ravaged by a 2008 flood, create jobs and generate millions for tax revenue and charities.

    April 17, 2014

  • Iowa Senate race suddenly more competitive

    A catchy political ad and a gotcha video have raised Republican hopes of capturing the Senate seat in Iowa, a prospect that would greatly enhance the party's chances of regaining control of the Senate.

    Republicans are adding the seat, held for three decades by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, to their list of winnable races in the November midterm elections.

    April 17, 2014

  • Evacuation came too late for many on sinking ferry

    An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.

    Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video