General Treasurer Seth Magaziner was today joined by Chair for the House of Representatives' Small Business Committee Carol Hagan-McEntee, State Unclaimed Property Director Lammis Vargas, Apsara Restaurant Manager Kim Te and community members to announce the Treasurer's Office will reunite over 1,000 small businesses and nonprofits with their unclaimed property.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our state's economy, and during financially uncertain times, we need to provide them with every bit of relief they can get," said Treasurer Magaziner. "These are funds that rightfully belong to our residents and that we have kept safe for you. I am proud to be reuniting over 1,000 business owners with their lost cash and property through the expansion of this program."
Treasurer Magaziner's top priority is to strengthen the state's economy and support the many small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Through the Unclaimed Property department, the Treasurer's Office has returned more that $73 million in missing money since 2015. Rhode Island is among the first in the country to incorporate small businesses and non-profits into its automated system.
"Small businesses, including those in my district, have been devasted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chair Hagan McEntee. "All elected officials must do their part to help. I am honored to join Treasurer Magaziner in this announcement and I am grateful for his leadership in supporting small businesses."
The first checks for are expected to go in the mail this week, with the average business and nonprofit receiving $600 in missing money.
"As a small business owner and a part of this community for the last 35 years, I know that every bit of support counts," said Apsara Restaurant Manager Kim Te. "My family came to this country looking for opportunity. While the pandemic has been hard, we are determined to recover and continue sharing the food we love to make with our customers."
Unclaimed property can include money left in old bank accounts and safe deposit boxes, uncashed paychecks, unused balances on gift certificates, unreturned utility deposits, uncollected insurance payments and forgotten stocks and dividends. Unclaimed property is held in safekeeping on behalf of individual Rhode Islanders, as well as businesses and nonprofits.
"In Unclaimed Property, we are focused on reuniting Rhode Islanders with what is rightfully theirs," said Unclaimed Property Director Lammis Vargas. "My staff and I are excited to have the opportunity to now support the businesses and organizations that make our communities, employ our residents, and keep our economy running."
Treasurer Magaziner also announced a month-long campaign to encourage small businesses and nonprofits to search the unclaimed property database at www.FindRIMoney.com to see if any money is owed to them.