Utah State Treasurer David Damschen announced a Utah Court of Appeals decision in Bradley J. Olsen v. State of Utah and Utah State Treasurer, Unclaimed Property Division.
The decision upholds the treasurer’s actions to defend property owners’ rights against invalid and predatory unclaimed property claims. Along with all states across the nation Utah adopted the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (1956) – ensuring abandoned or lost property of its citizens is turned over to state governments for safekeeping – not kept by companies, employers, service providers and others. Examples of such property include dormant bank accounts, overpaid bills, property tax over payments, safe deposit box contents and more. Companies or government entities with unclaimed properties are required to transfer them each year to state governments who hold the property until claimed by rightful owners or heirs.
In the case of Bradley D. Olsen v. The State of Utah, the appellant navigated processes unintended for the purpose of obtaining unclaimed property rights. For $10,000 the appellant attempted to purchase rights to $274,000 of another individual’s unclaimed property – and then submitted a claim to obtain that property from Utah’s Unclaimed Property Division. When the Division refused to pay the $274,000 claim, Olsen sued the Division. The $274,000 in question was money from a Park City tax sale.
“It’s our job to safeguard the unclaimed property of Utahns until they or their descendants claim it,” said Treasurer Damschen. “Once we determined what this individual had done we denied his claim and worked on the lawsuit with the Attorney General’s Office, which provided astute legal solutions to protect the rightful owner against this predatory behavior. Anyone who might contemplate trying to exploit the Unclaimed Property system for unfair gains – rest assured the Attorney General and I stand ready to defend rightful owners under the law.”
“Once people properly make a claim for their unclaimed property, they are free to enter into any legal contract for use of such proceeds. But this was a scam and stopping fraudulent practices has always been a priority for my office,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “Treasurer David Damschen and his team are doing excellent work in both helping citizens recover unclaimed property and protecting that property until it can be claimed. We applaud their efforts and will continue to support him and his office.”