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May 27, 2022 by |

San Francisco Consumer Attorney: California Attorney General Rob Bonta Pursues Unclaimed Property

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

AG Files Suit Against Urgent Care Provider

Alleges Millions In Unclaimed Overpayments

Alleged Violations Of Unclaimed Property And False Claims Acts

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta has made enforcement of consumer protection laws and consumer rights a major focus of attention of the California Department of Justice.  Sometimes, consumer interests also merge with the interests of the State itself when corporations evade certain important obligations to consumers and the State.  One primary example is unclaimed property – things like refund and rebate checks, old bank accounts or CDs, life insurance policies, and the like.  California requires that any property remaining unclaimed by its rightful owner for more than three years be reported and then remitted (“escheat”) to the State. Unclaimed Property Law (UPL), C.C.P. § 1500 et seq.  The State Controller’s Office then lists the unclaimed property so that California residents can search a database to see if they are the rightful owners of any unclaimed money.[1]  When a business like a bank or insurance company fails to report and remit or escheat unclaimed property, the business may also be in violation of the California False Claims Act (CFCA), Cal. Gov’t Code § 12650 et seq.  If you have unclaimed property which a business like a bank or insurance company has failed to return to you or report and escheat the property to the State, call us today at (415)441-8669.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Complaint For Unclaimed Property[2]

Attorney General Bonta recently filed a complaint against a nationwide chain of occupational and urgent care clinics alleging that defendant knowingly kept millions of dollars from the State of California in unclaimed overpayment balances, unclaimed refund checks, and other unclaimed property, in violation of the Unclaimed Property Law (UPL), C.C.P. § 1500 et seq., and the California False Claims Act (CFCA), Cal. Gov’t Code § 12650 et seq.  The complaint alleges that defendant possessed unclaimed property as early as 2001, but did not file mandated reports with the State of California until 2018 after being notified of the Attorney General’s investigation. Pursuant to the UPL, all intangible property that remains unclaimed by the true owner for more than three years after it became payable or distributable, must be reported and then remitted to the state. The UPL also mandates 12% interest per year on property that should have been reported or remitted to the state.

As the Attorney General’s complaint alleges, defendant also violated the CFCA when it chose not to report its unclaimed property holdings, thereby knowingly concealing millions of dollars due by escheat to the State of California. Although defendant’s unreported property claims were allegedly repeatedly brought to management’s attention, management declined to comply and report the property so as to avoid an audit by state authorities.  

“Let’s get one thing straight: corporate evasion is corporate fraud,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Companies don’t get to pick and choose when to follow the law because it serves their benefit. When companies cheat the State of California, they cheat the people of California.” 

Contact Us

If you or a loved one believes a business is wrongfully withholding your property or have been the victim of financial elder abuse fraud anywhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

[1] For our description of the steps you can take to see if you have any unclaimed property with the State see our blog at: https://www.evanslaw.com/california-banking-elder-abuse-attorney-unclaimed-property/

[2] Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in this case in any way.

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