Three billion dollars sitting inside a vault, unclaimed, at the Illinois State Treasurer

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PEORIA, Ill. — The Illinois State Treasurer is working to give residents back their hard-earned money and lost property.

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs was a guest in Tuesday’s WMBD News2Go first bonus episode on the CIProud Podcast Network.

Frerichs discussed his role as treasure since being elected in 2014, his goals for his second term, how residents can claim their lost property through the iCash program and his views about the merging of the Illinois State Treasurer’s and the Illinois Comptroller office.

Frerichs is urging people to check if they have money unclaimed. He said the state holds lost funds and other valuables until they are claimed by either the original owner or their heirs. Property is returned at no cost with the proper identification.

“This is money that a company is holding on to, but it does not belong to them,” he said. “It can be an uncashed paycheck, a forgotten bank account, proceeds from a uncashed life insurance policy. For a variety of reasons money come into us and it is my job to give it back to the rightful owner hands.”

Last year one and four people who checked the website found the state had something for them and it averaged $15,000. Frerichs said the process to claim money from the state is much easier.

People can go to the iCash website to check for unclaimed property and can now claim their property through e-claiming, fast track, which is an internet track, or a money match program.

“There are a lot of treasures out there that people aren’t aware of,” he said. “It’s not just money. You won’t know if we have something if you don’t go to Illinois Treasure dot gov. If you go to our website check for yourself, but also check for your parents and grandparents, and also check for your siblings.”

“Everyone likes free money and we want to return more of it.”

However being six months into his second term, Frerichs also added he supported the idea of combining the Illinois State Treasurer’s and the Illinois Comptroller offices.

“I support it,” he said. “I think we could find some savings by merging the offices. Now you couldn’t merge them completely with all things. There will need to be some checks and balances, but I think we take out some of the incompatible duties and give them to the governor, to the secretary of state or the auditor general. There can still be checks and balances with one less office.”

He said if the citizens want it to happen then community should convince members of the general assembly to add the option to combine the Illinois State Treasurer’s and the Illinois Comptroller offices to the ballot.

“I think it would be a good debate,” he said. “I would campaign as to why we would have savings.”

However, Frerichs’ goal this term is to make sure people are signing up to the newly and improved saving programs. He said he wants to be more creative and innovative to make sure people are signing up for programs that will put them on the right path to saving money for retirement, for their children’s higher education or for their children with disabilities.

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