Does Colorado owe you money? The Problem Solvers uncover more than $1 million in un-cashed checks

DENVER -- By now, you may have checked the Great Colorado Payback website, where unclaimed cash and property is listed by the state.

Colorado officials have returned millions of dollars in unclaimed property since launching the campaign.

However, the Problem Solvers have found thousands of government-issued checks not listed on the website that total more than $1 million.

The checks were issued by cities and counties, taking advantage of a loophole that's existed for roughly 30 years.

"There's a local government opt-out that was created some years ago, where cities and counties were able to run their own unclaimed property funds," says State Rep. Rod Bockenfeld. "Unfortunately, there hasn't been a whole lot of transparency in these programs."

Bockenfeld says counties have been holding those checks and investing the money before returning the revenue to the general fund.

That means you could be owed thousands of dollars you don't even know about.

Records released to FOX31 by Arapahoe, Jefferson, Denver and Weld Counties show the following amounts of un-cashed checks:

Arapahoe County: $739,707

Jefferson County: $263,650

Denver City/County: $750,540

Weld County: $20,003

"Some of these were un-cashed payroll checks, some of them were over-payments of taxes, some was money owed to estates," says Bockenfeld.

Those records were difficult to find, and in most cases unobtainable on various county and city websites.

New Bill Could Change This

A new bill headed to the governor's desk could clear up some of this confusion.

House Bill 088 will require cities and counties to post unclaimed property on the state's website.

"It doesn't become the state's property," says State Rep. Kerry Tipper, the author of the bill. "It's still your property, and the state actively takes over the role of trying to re-unite it with you."

Tipper says counties are required to hold onto your money, while cities can make their own rules.

In some cases, those un-cashed checks are moved over to the city's general fund after just a few months.

The new law will require cities to hold onto your money for a longer period of time.

"It says you have to hold onto that property for at least five years," says Tipper. "And while you're holding onto it, you have to tell the state about it so they can include it in the website. Now what we have is one-stop shopping for people to see if they have any unclaimed property."

Tipper says it's unclear when those funds will begin showing up on the state website, but it's expected to be some point this year.

"It's absolutely worth checking, even if you've checked it before," she says.

Bockenfeld says Adams, Douglas and El Paso counties don't have their own unclaimed property funds, so that money is already listed on the state website.

However, Jefferson, Denver, Arapahoe and Weld all have their own unclaimed property departments.

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